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A glossary of sociolinguistics (John Trudgill)

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A Glossary
of Sociolinguistics
Peter Trudgill
(elim ane
FARA eRe ee
Oxford University Press
New York
Buenos Aires
Dar es Salaam
Kuala Lumpur
Sao Paulo
Hong Kong
Cape Town
Mexico City Mumbai
Taipei Tokyo
© Peter Trudgill, 2003
Published by Oxford University Press, Inc.
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by arrangement with Edinburgh University Press Ltd
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Oxford is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored
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Typeset in Sabon by Hewer Text Ltd, Edinburgh
Printed and bound in Great Britain by
Cox & Wyman Ltd, Reading, UK
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Trudgill, Peter.
A glossary of sociolinguistics / Peter Trudgill.
Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 0-19-521943-0
1. Sociolinguistics-Terminology. I. Title.
P40 .T747 2002
The aim of this book is to provide an introductory guide to the
central concepts and most frequently used technical terms used
in sociolinguistics. The focus is not only on the various
branches of sociolinguistics itself, but also on dialectology,
both traditional and modern, and on varieties of the English
language, particularly those which have been of especial
interest to people working in sociolinguistics. Classic studies
in sociolinguistics are also cited. There is, too, a particular
emphasis on individual languages of types which tend to be of
special interest to sociolinguists, such as minority languages,
and pidgin and creole languages.
The entries are written in normal prose, but are presented
alphabetically to facilitate research, and with numerous crossreferences. The book is a revised, updated and much expanded
version of the author’s Introducing language and society
(Penguin, 1992).
I am very grateful to the following for their help and advice in
the preparation of this book: Jenny Cheshire, David Crystal,
Yvonne Dréschel, Mercedes Durham, Jan Terje Faarlund,
Jean Hannah, Daniel Long, Didier Maillat, James Milroy
and Lesley Milroy.
Aasen, Ivar see Ausbau language, Nynorsk
see African American Vernacular English
Abstand language (German /‘apftant/) A concept developed
by the German sociolinguist Heinz Kloss. A variety of
language which is regarded as a language in its own right,
rather than a dialect, by virtue of being very different in its
linguistic characteristics from all other languages. The
degree of linguistic distance (German ‘Abstand’) between
this variety and other languages is such that, unlike
Ausbau languages, there can be no dispute as to its
language status. Basque, the language spoken in northern
Spain and southwestern France, is a good example of an
Abstand language. It is clearly a single language, because
its dialects are similar. And it is clearly a language rather
than a dialect because, since it is not related historically to
any other European language, it is completely different in
its grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation from the
neighbouring languages, French and Spanish — compare
the numerals from one to five.
trois __ tres
cinco __ bost
@ Santiago de
* Zamora
© Salamanca
e Segovia
° Madrid
@ Toledo
e@ Cordoba
Murcia ,
The Basque-speaking area
There is no widely used English equivalent for this term,
but ‘language by distance’ is sometimes employed.
accent The way
in which people pronounce
speak. Since everybody pronounces when they speak —
everyone has phonetics and phonology —- everybody
speaks with an accent. A speaker’s accent may relate
to where they are from geographically (for example a
land, an
accent, an American accent — see also Geordie,
Cockney). It may relate to their social back(for example an upper-class accent, or, in EngRP accent) or it may relate to whether they are a
native speaker or not (for example a French accent, a
foreign accent). Accent and dialect normally go together
(Yorkshire dialect is spoken with a Yorkshire accent) but
British sociolinguists distinguish between the two be-
cause the RP accent and the Standard English dialect
are not always combined.
accommodation The process whereby participants in a conversation adjust their accent, dialect or other language
characteristics according to the language of the other
participant(s). Accommodation theory, as developed by
the British social psychologist of language, Howard Giles,
stresses that accommodation can take one of two major
forms: convergence, when speakers modify their accent or
dialect, etc. to make them resemble more closely those of
the people they are speaking to; and, less usually, divergence, when, in order to signal social distance or disap-
proval, speakers make their language more unlike that of
their interlocutors. Accommodation normally takes place
during face-to-face interaction.
accountability, principle of A principle propounded by William Labov which states that reports of the occurrence of
a variant of a linguistic variable must be accompanied by
reports of its non-occurrence.
acrolect A variety or lect which is socially the highest, most
prestigious variety in a social dialect continuum. Other
varieties lower down the social dialect continuum in terms
of social status are known as mesolects and basilects. This
terminology is particularly common in the discussion of
the sociolinguistic situation in post-creole continuum
communities such as Jamaica, where Standard English
is the acrolect, Jamaican Creole the basilect, and linguis-
tically intermediate varieties the mesolects.
act of identity According to the British sociolinguist Robert
LePage, any speech act performed by an individual is an
act of identity. In any given situation, speakers will select
from the range of varieties available to them in their
verbal repertoires depending on which personal and social
identity they wish to project. By selecting a pronunciation
or grammatical form or word associated with and symbolic of a particular group in society, they will be projecting their identity as a member of that social group rather
than some other identity. Accommodation of both the
convergence and divergence types can be interpreted as
constituting an act of identity.
actuation problem One of a number of problems pointed to
by the American sociolinguist William Labov in connec-
tion with the study of linguistic change within the field of
secular linguistics. The actuation problem is the problem
which linguists have of explaining why a particular linguistic change is set in motion in the first place. Historical
linguists may be quite good at accounting for particular
sound changes or grammatical changes, but why do
changes start where and when they do, and not at some
other place or time? A related problem, as discussed by
Labov, is the embedding problem.
address forms Words
and phrases used to address other
people in conversations, meetings, letters, etc. Address
forms may include pronouns such as you, titles such as Sir
and Madam, names such as John and Mr Smith, and
endearments and expressions such as mate, buddy, dear,
honey. In all communities, there are norms concerning
who uses which form to who, what the social implications
are of using one form or another, and on which occasions particular forms may be used. In Britain, it would be
unusual to address a friend by title plus surname, for
example Mr Smith, and more usual to address them by
their first name, for example John. In many languages,
speakers also have to select second-person pronouns,
corresponding to English you, according to sociolinguistically appropriate norms. Selection usually involves a
choice of T and V pronouns.
adjacency pair In conversation analysis,
a sequence of two
utterances by two different speakers in which the second is
related to the first in a specific way. For example, a
question will normally be followed by an answer, and
a summons by a response, as in:
A: Mum!
B: Coming!
admixture The mixing of elements from one language or
dialect into another. This typically happens when speakers are using a variety that is not their native tongue and
interference, such as the use of a foreign accent or the
transfer of grammatical patterns from one language to
another, takes place. Admixture is an important notion in
the study of pidgin languages and is one of the major
elements in the process of pidginisation. Admixture can
also involve the borrowing of words from one language to
see substratum
African American Vernacular English (AAVE) The name used
by American sociolinguists to refer to the dialect of
English spoken, with relatively little regional variation,
by lower-class anglophone (i.e. not Louisiana French
Creole-speaking) African Americans in the United States.
In its phonological and, especially, grammatical charac-
teristics (such as copula deletion), this variety differs from
White dialects of English in such a way that many linguists
have argued that it represents a late stage historically in a
decreolisation process of an earlier creole that formerly
resembled the creoles of the Caribbean and Gullah. Other
linguists, sometimes known as ‘anglicists’, argue that the
linguistic features of AAVE can be entirely accounted for
by an origin in the British Isles. William Labov has argued,
in research published in the 1980s, that African American
Vernacular English is currently diverging from White
dialects. This research has led to the divergence contro-
versy in American sociolinguistics. AAVE has also been
called ‘Ebonics’.
Afro-Seminole see Gullah
age-grading A phenomenon in which speakers in a community gradually alter their speech habits as they get older,
and where this change is repeated in every generation. It
has been shown, for example, that in some speech communities it is normal for speakers to modify their language
in the direction of the acrolect as they approach middleage, and then to revert to less prestigious speech patterns
after they reach retirement age. Age-grading is something
that has to be checked for in apparent-time studies of
linguistic change to ensure that false conclusions are not
being drawn from linguistic differences between genera-
Americana At the end of the American Civil War in 1865,
thousands of Americans from the defeated South left the
United States and about 40,000 of them went to Brazil
where they founded a number of settlements. The best
known of these is called Americana, which is about 100
miles northwest of Sao Paulo. The language of the com-
munity was
for many
a Southern
variety of
American English, and there are many hundreds of older
people today who still speak a conservative form of
English which has its roots in Georgia and Alabama.
Gradually the community have become bilingual in English and Portuguese, and language shift to Portuguese is
now taking place.
anglicists see African American Vernacular English
Angloromany The ethnic language of the Rom (Gypsies) is
Romani, an originally North Indian language related to
Hindi and Panjabi. As a result of language shift, however,
Gypsies in England no longer speak the language. Many
of them, though, are still able to speak a variety known as
Angloromany or Anglo-Romany. This is a variety in
which, as described by the British Gypsy linguist Ian
Hancock, many of the nouns, verbs and adjectives are
of Romany origin, while the articles, numerals, conjunctions, pronouns, prepositions and grammatical endings,
as well as the phonetics and phonology, are English.
Angloromany may function as an antilanguage and it
has provided important input in the development of
English slang. Here is an example:
Jesus pukkered them this parable. ‘Suppose tutti’s got a
hundred bokros and yek of them’s nasherdi. Is there a
mush among the lot of you as would not muk the
ninety-nine in the bokro-puv and jel after the nasherdi
bokro till he latchers it? Karna he’s latchered it he
riggers it on his dummer, well-pleased he is. Karna
he jels home he pukkers his friends and all the foki
around “Be happy with mandi, because I’ve found my
nasherdi bokro”’.
Jesus told them this parable. ‘Suppose you’ve got a
hundred sheep and one of them’s lost. Is there a man
among the lot of you who would not leave the ninetynine in the sheepfold and go after the lost sheep till he
finds it? When he’s found it he lays it on his shoulder,
well-pleased he is. When he gets home he tells his
friends and all the neighbours aound “Be happy with
me, because I’ve found my lost sheep”’.
eed ed
Ann Arbor case A court case in the town of Ann Arbor,
Michigan, USA, in 1979, in which African American
parents argued that insufficient provision had been made
in the education system for children who were native
speakers of African American Vernacular English rather
than Standard
English. William
presented evi-
dence showing that African American Vernacular English was a systematic, rule-governed linguistic variety.
The court ruled that the education system should take
account of the fact that children came to school speaking
a structured
is linguistically
different from Standard English. See linguistic gratuity,
principle of.
anthrolinguistics see anthropological linguistics
anthropological linguistics A branch of the study of language
and society, sometimes known as anthrolinguistics, in
which the objectives of the study are in part identical
to those of anthropologists — to find out more about the
social structure of particular communities (especially but
not exclusively in smaller non-European societies) — but
where the methodology involves analysis of languages
and of norms for language use. Areas studied in anthropological linguistics include kinship terminology, the Sapitr-Whorf hypothesis and linguistic taboo. There are also
strong connections
between anthropological linguistics
and the ethnography of speaking.
antilanguage A term coined by Michael Halliday to refer to a
variety of a language, usually spoken on particular occasions by members of certain relatively powerless or mar-
ginal groups
in a society, which
is intended to be
incomprehensible to other speakers of the language or
otherwise to exclude them. Examples of groups employ-
ing forms of antilanguage include criminals, drug-users,
schoolchildren, homosexuals and Gypsies. Exclusivity is
maintained through the use of slang vocabulary, sometimes known as argot, notyknown to other groups, including vocabulary derived from other languages.
include the antilanguages
and Angloromany. Some of these varieties rely on pho-
nological or other distortion processes to make them
incomprehensible — see back slang, Pig Latin, rhyming
slang and also gayspeak.
Appalachians, the A hilly area of the eastern United States
which has been much studied by American dialectologists
because of its traditional dialects. The areas of most
interest to dialectologists have been in West Virginia.
apparent-time studies Studies of linguistic change which at-
tempt to investigate language changes as they happen, not
in real time (see real-time studies), but by comparing the
speech of older speakers with that of younger speakers in
a given community, and assuming that differences be-
tween them are due to changes currently taking place
within the dialect of that community, with older speakers
using older forms and younger speakers using newer
forms. As pointed out by William Labov, who introduced
both the term and the technique, it is important to be able
to distinguish in this comparison of age-groups between
ongoing language changes and differences that are due to
applied linguistics The application of the findings of linguistics to the solution of real-world problems. The term is
most often used in connection with the application of
linguistics to the teaching of foreign and second lan-
applied sociolinguistics The application of the findings of
sociolinguistics to the solution of real-world problems.
See Ann Arbor case, cross-cultural communication, interactional sociolinguistics, language conflict, language cultivation, language planning, language revival, verbal
areal linguistics see geographical linguistics
argot /argou/ A term sometimes used to refer to the kinds of
antilanguage whose slang vocabulary is typically associated with criminal groups.
artificial languages see historicity
see Vlach
Arvanitika The name given in Greece to the language of the
indigenous Albanian-speaking linguistic minority in that
country. This minority has been in Greece since medieval
times, and the biggest concentration today is found in
Attica, Biotia and much of the Peloponnese. Many of the
suburbs of Athens are, or were until recently, Albanianspeaking. The number of speakers is difficult to determine
but there may be as many as 50,000. There is no doubt
that Arvanitika is a variety of Albanian — the degree of
linguistic Abstand between it and the dialects of southern
Albania is so small that mutual intelligibility is not difficult. However, the practice of referring to the language by
a different name has the effect of implying that Arvanitika
is an autonomous
language rather than a dialect of
Albanian, the national language of a neighbouring coun-
audience design A notion developed by Allan Bell to account
for stylistic variation in language in terms of speakers’
responses to audience members i.e. to people who are
listening to them. Bell’s model derives in part from accommodation theory.
augmentative The opposite of diminutive. A form, usually of a
noun, with the added meaning of ‘big’. In European
languages this is usually signalled by a suffix, as in Greek
pedharos ‘big boy’ from pedhi ‘child’. There is frequently
an additional association of admiration, such that pedharos most often means ‘big, good-looking lad’.
Ausbau language (German /'ausbau/) A concept due to the
German sociolinguist Heinz Kloss. A variety which derives its status as a language, rather than a dialect, not so
much from its linguistic characteristics, like an Abstand
language, but from its social, cultural and political char-
acteristics. These characteristics will normally involve
autonomy and standardisation. Norwegian and Swedish
are regarded as distinct languages, not because they are
linguistically very different from one another — there is
clear mutual intelligibility — but because they are associated with two separate, independent nation states, and
because. they have traditions involving different writing
systems, grammar books and dictionaries. Ausbau is the
German word for ‘extension’ or ‘building up’. Note that
when new Ausbau languages are being developed through
language planning, planners will often make the most of
what Abstand is available. For example, Ivar Aasen, the
developer of the form of Standard Norwegian now known
as Nynorsk deliberately modelled it on those (western)
dialects which were least like Danish, which had hitherto
been the standard language of Norway. There is no widely
used English equivalent for this term, but ‘language by
extension’ is sometimes employed.
Austin, J. L. see speech act theory
autonomy A term, associated with the work of the Norwegian-American linguist Einar Haugen, which means in-
dependence and is thus the opposite of heteronomy.
Autonomy is a characteristic of a variety of a language
that has been subject to standardisation and codification,
and is therefore regarded as having an independent existence. An autonomous variety is one whose speakers and
writers are not socially, culturally or educationally de-
pendent on any other variety of that language, and is
normally the variety which is used in writing in the
community in question. Standard English is a dialect
which has the characteristic of autonomy, whereas Cockney does not have this feature.
avoidance language A linguistic variety which is used to
permit social interaction between people who would
otherwise be prevented from communicating with one
another by strong social taboos. In many Australian
aboriginal communities there are taboos concerning communication between a man and his mother-in-law. In
some such communities they are permitted to talk to
one another only if they employ a special language vari-
ety, sometimes known as a mother-in-law language, in
which a special reduced vocabulary is used and sometimes
also a different phonological system.
back slang A form of antilanguage in which words are delib-
erately disguised by being pronounced backwards, as in
Kool toul! ‘Look out!’ and riah ‘hair’. The British slang
term yob ‘uncouth male person’ was originally back slang
for boy.
Ballymacarett see Belfast
‘Bamyili Creole see Kriol
basilect In a social dialect continuum, the lect which has the
lowest social status. In the Jamaican post-creole continuum, the basilect is the variety most unlike the Standard
English acrolect, namely Jamaican Creole. Ranged above
the basilect on the continuum are the mesolects and the
Bay Islands The Bay Islands of Honduras are a group of eight
small islands off the northern coast of the mainland of that
country. The islands were settled in 1642 by English
buccaneers. English-speaking Protestants formed the ma-
jority of the population until about 1900, when Hispanic
Hondurans from the mainland began settling, but indigenous anglophones still form about eighty-five per cent
of the population. See Central American English.
Belfast The largest city in Northern Ireland. The three Belfast
areas of Ballymacarett, Clonard and The Hammer were
investigated by the British linguists James Milroy and
Lesley Milroy in their pioneering sociolinguistic study of
that city, some of the results of which were published in L.
Milroy Language and social networks (2nd edn, 1987)
and in J. Milroy Linguistic variation and change (1992).
Bell, Allan see audience design, style axiom
Belten High The name used by Penelope Eckert to refer to the
American High School in Michigan in which she carried
out fieldwork on which her two books Jocks and burn-
outs: social identity in the high school (1989) and Linguistic variation as social practice (2000) are based. The
two main groups of pupils identified by Eckert were the
‘jocks’, who were those who identified most with school
values and who also used more conservative variants of
vowels involved in the Northern Cities Chain Shift; and
‘burnouts’, who identified more with the working class
_ and often anti-school values of urban Detroit, and were
more innovative in their usage of vowel variants. See also
community of practice.
Bernstein, Basil see elaborated code, restricted code
Bichelamar see Bislama
Bickerton, Derek see bioprogram hypothesis
bidialectalism (1) The ability of a speaker to command more
than one dialect of a language, and to show code-switching from one to another depending on social context. This
ability is more common in divergent dialect communities.
Most often, bidialectalism involves the ability to use the
standard dialect of a language together with some nonstandard dialect. (2) An educational policy which is intended to give pupils who are not native speakers of the
standard language proficiency in writing in the standard
language while respecting and helping to maintain their
local nonstandard dialects. This policy, which is sometimes known as bidialectism, is normal in many countries,
such as Switzerland, and is the only policy allowed by law
in Norway. It is also the educational policy favoured by
most sociolinguists involved in mother-tongue education.
bidialectism see bidialectalism
bilingualism The ability of an individual to speak two or more
languages. In the usage of some writers, bilingualism
refers only to individuals who have native command of
more than one language. Other writers use the term to
refer to any speaker who has a reasonable degree of
competence in a language other than their mother tongue.
Sociolinguists are agreed that bilingualism is so wide-
spread in the world that there are probably more people
in the world who are bilingual, at least in the second sense,
than there are monolinguals. Many sociolinguists use the
term ‘bilingualism’ to refer to individuals, even if they are
trilingual, quadrilingual etc. and reserve the term multilingualism for nations or societies, even if only two
languages are involved. See also compound bilingualism
and coordinate bilingualism.
bioprogram hypothesis A hypothesis proposed by Derek Bick-
erton and discussed at length
language. Bickerton suggests that
biological program for language
this innate program is most open
in his book Roots of
humans have a separate
and that the nature of
for study by linguists in
the case of creole languages where communities of chil-
dren have had to develop fully-fledged languages from
limited and inadequate pidgin language sources. In other
language communities, the bioprogram grammar
have been overridden by discourse needs and cultural
developments. Creoles have linguistic characteristics in
common and these similarities are due to the fact that their
grammatical structures are derived directly from the bioprogram without any subsequent cultural overlay. This
hypothesis might have implications for the study of the
origins of human language.
Bislama An English-lexifier creole spoken in Vanuatu (formerly New Hebrides) and to a lesser extent in New
Caledonia, South Pacific. It is also known as Bichelamar.
Most users are non-native speakers who use the. language as a lingua franca. It is historically related to and
mutually intelligible to a fair degree with Tok Pisin and
Pijin. The following is a version of the Lord’s Prayer in
Papa bilong mifala,
yu yu stap antap long heven,
Mifala i wantem we nem bilong yu i tabu.
Mifala i wantem we kingdom bilong yu i kam,
Mo we olgeta man long wol oli wokem olgeta samting
we yu yu wantem,
olsem olgeta long heven oli stap wokem.
Mifala i askem yu bilong tedei yu givem kakai long
i stret bilong tedei nomo.
Mifala i askem yu bilong yu fogivem mifala from ol
samting nogud bilong mifala,
Olsem we mifala i stap fogivem ol man we oli stap
mekem i nogud long mifala.
Mifala i askem yu bilong yu no tekem mifala i go long
sam samting we bambae oli traem mifala tumas,
Mo bilong yu blokem Setan i no kam kasem mifala
YH J Yy Uy,
Yj _
V7 Yy7jYj
Vanuatu and New Caledonia
Black Vernacular English see African American Vernacular
Bokmal /bu:kmol/ One of the two officially recognised stan-
dard forms of Norwegian, the other being Nynorsk.
When Norway gained independence from Denmark in
the early nineteenth century, it was felt by many that
Danish should be replaced as the official language by a
standardised form of the closely related Scandinavian
language Norwegian. There were two conflicting solutions to the problem of devising a Norwegian standard.
One, promoted by Kud Knudsen (1812-95), was to make
relatively minor changes to Danish in order to modify it in
the direction of the speech of upper-class Norwegians in
the capital Christiania (now Oslo). (For the other solu-
tion, see Nynorsk.) As a result of Norwegian governmental language planning policies, this form of Norwegian
has gradually been modifed so that it is now less different
from Nynorsk. Originally called Riksmal ‘national language’, it is now known as Bokmal ‘book language’. The
label Riksmal is still used to refer to an unofficial, more
conservative (that is, less like Nynorsk) variety which is
still favoured by some writers. The following is a text in
Nynorsk and Bokmal which will permit a comparison:
Begge dei to malformene vare er prega
Begge de to malformene vare er preget
av ein monaleg stor valfridom i
av en betydelig stor valgfridom i
rettskrivinga. Sveert mange ord kan
rettskrivingen. Svzert mange ord kan
bade stavast og beyast pa ulike matar utan
bade staves og beyes pa forskellige mater uten
at det skal reknast for feil.
at det skal betraktes som feil.
‘Both of the two forms of language are characterised by
rather large freedom of choice in the orthography. Very
many words can be both spelt and declined in different
ways without that being considered a mistake.’
Bonin Islands Perhaps the least-known anglophone community in the world, these Japanese-owned islands (Japanese
Ogasawara-gunto) are in the central Pacific Ocean, about
500 miles southeast of Japan. The population is about
2,000. The islands were discovered by the Spanish navigator Ruy Lopez de Villalobos in 1543. They were then
claimed by the USA in 1823 and by Britain in 1825. The
originally uninhabited islands were first settled in 1830 by
five seamen — two Americans, one Englishman, one Dane
and one Italian — together with ten Hawaiians, five men
and five women. This founding population was later
joined by whalers, shipwrecked sailors and drifters of
different origins. The islands were
Japan in 1876. The English is mainly American in origin
and has many similarities with New England varieties.
borrowing The process whereby bilingual speakers introduce
words from one language into another language, these
loan words eventually becoming accepted as an integral
part of the second language. Restaurant was originally a
French word, but is now an integral part of the English
language and is known and used by all speakers of English
whether or not they are bilingual in French. It is also
pronounced by English speakers according to the rules of
English and not French pronunciation. Loan words which
are still in the process of being
language may continue to be
speakers are able, according to
language, as with coup d’éfat
assimilated into another
pronounced, as well as
the rules of the original
in English. Grammatical
constructions and speech sounds may also be borrowed
from one language into another.
see Serbo-Croat
Bourdieu, Pierre see linguistic market
British English The English of England, Scotland and Wales,
not to be confused with English English.
bundles of isoglosses see transition zone
burnouts see Belten High
BVE see African American Vernacular English
Cajun /keidzan/ Originally an abbreviated form of Acadian.
Acadia is a term used to refer to the Maritime Provinces of
Canada: New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward
Island. In the 1750s, very many of the French-speaking
settlers in these areas who had refused to swear allegiance
to the Crown were expelled by the British, and many of
them went to the French colony of Louisiana, now a state
of the USA. Cajun French is the term used to refer to the
variety of the French language still spoken in Louisiana by
the descendants of these expellees. It retains a number of
features of Canadian Maritime French, together with
many borrowings from English. It is not to be confused
with the French-based creole also spoken in Louisiana,
mostly by African Americans.
see Kashubian
Central American English Many areas of Central America are
English-speaking rather than Spanish-speaking. The dialects are mostly of a Caribbean type. See San Andrés and
Providencia, Bay Islands, Miskito Coast, Corn Islands.
Chambers, J. K. see NORM
change from above In terminology introduced by William
Labov, linguistic changes which take place in a community above the level of conscious awareness, that is, when
speakers have some awareness that they are making these
changes. Very often, changes from above are made as a
result of the influence of prestigious dialects with which
the community is in contact, and the consequent stigmatisation of local dialect features. Changes from above
therefore typically occur in the first instance in more
closely monitored styles, and thus lead to style stratification. It is important to realise, however, that ‘above’ in
this context does not refer to social class or status. It is not
necessarily the case that such changes take place ‘from
above’ socially. Change from above as a process is opposed by Labov to change from below.
change from below In terminology introduced by
Labov, linguistic changes which take place in a
nity below the level of conscious awareness, that
speakers are not consciously aware, unlike with
from above, that such changes are taking place.
commuis, when
from below usually begin in one particular social class
group, and thus lead to class stratification. While this
particular social class group is very often not the highest
class group in a society, it should be noted that change
from below does not mean change ‘from below’ in any
social sense.
Chatham Islands This island group is about 500 miles east of
New Zealand. The inhabited islands are Chatham Island
and Pitt Island, which is about 12 miles to the southeast.
The indigenous population were the Polynesian Moriori,
who were conquered and exterminated by the New Zealand Maori after 1835. The islands were annexed by New
Zealand in 1842. The current population of about 750 is
mainly white with some people of Maori or mixed Maori
and Moriori origin. The English dialect is similar to that
of New Zealand.
Chicano From Spanish mejicano ‘Mexican’, a term used in the
USA (particularly in the southwest) to refer to people
living in the country, including American citizens, who are
of Mexican origin. The term is then extended in sociolinguistics to refer to the English and/or Spanish that
Chicanos speak. The feminine form is ‘Chicana’.
class stratification A term from secular linguistics which refers
to the relationship between language and social class,
whereby certain variants of a linguistic variable are used
most often by higher-class speakers, and other variants
most frequently by lower-class speakers. Speakers from
intermediate classes will use these variants with intermediate frequency, or else will use intermediate variants.
As a result of t-glottaling, many British communities have
class stratification of the variable (t) — the pronunciation
of /t/ in better, bet etc. — with the variant [t] being used
more frequently by higher-class speakers and the variant
[2] being used more frequently by lower-class speakers.
classical language A language which has the characteristics of
autonomy and standardisation but which does not have
the characteristic of vitality, that is, although it used to
have native speakers, it no longer does so. Classical
European languages include Latin and Ancient Greek.
~The ancient Indian language Sanskrit, an ancestor of
modern North Indian languages such as Hindi and Ben-
gali, is another example of a classical language, as is
Classical Arabic. Classical languages generally survive
because they are written languages which are known
non-natively as a result of being used for purposes of
religion or scholarship. Latin has been associated with
Catholicism, Sanskrit with Hinduism, and Classical Ara-
bic with Islam.
cline A term associated with the work of Michael Halliday
and used in functional sociolinguistics to apply to a
continuum of infinite gradation in language.
Clonard see Belfast
Cockney A term used to refer to people, usually of workingclass origin, from the East End of London, and, by
extension, to the accent and dialect of English spoken
by such people. The accent is characterised by I-vocalisation, t-glottaling and th-fronting.
Cocoliche /kokolitfe/ A linguistic variety which is a mixture of
Spanish and Italian, spoken by some people of Italian
origin in Argentina.
code-mixing The process whereby speakers indulge in codeswitching between languages of such rapidity and density,
even within sentences and phrases, that it is not really
possible to say at any given time which language they are
speaking. There are many reports from countries such as
Malta, Nigeria and Hong Kong of educated elites indulging in code-mixing, using a mixture of English and the
local language. Sociolinguistic explanations for this behaviour normally concentrate on the possibility, through
using code-mixing as a strategy, of projecting two identities at once, for example that of a modern, sophisticated,
educated person and that of a loyal, local patriot (see act
of identity).
code-switching The process whereby bilingual or bidialectal
speakers switch back and forth between one language or
dialect and another within the same conversation. This
linguistic behaviour is very common in multilingual situations. Sociolinguistic research in this area has concentrated on trying to establish what factors in the social and
linguistic context influence switching: it may be that one
language is typically associated with one set of domains,
and the other language with another. Research has also
focused on what are the grammatical rules for where
switching can and cannot take place, and the extent to
which it is possible to distinguish between code-switching
and borrowing.
codification The process whereby a variety of a language,
often as part of a standardisation process, acquires a
publicly recognised and fixed form in which norms are
laid down for ‘correct’ usage as far as grammar, vocabulary, spelling and perhaps pronunciation are concerned.
This codification can take place over time without involvement of official bodies, as happened with Standard
English, or it can take place quite rapidly, as a result of
decisions by governmental
or other official
planning agencies, as happened with Swahili in Tanzania.
The results of codification are usually enshrined in dictionaries and grammar books, as well as, sometimes, in
government publications.
coherence A term used in discourse analysis and other related
to refer to semantic
different parts of a text.
cohesion A term used in discourse analysis and other related
areas to refer to grammatical well-connectedness between
different parts of a text.
colloquial A term used to apply to varieties and forms that are
towards the very informal end of the formal-informal
stylistic continuum. See style.
communicative competence A term introduced by the American anthropological linguist Dell Hymes by analogy with
Chomsky’s term competence — the native speaker’s (unconscious) linguistic knowledge of the structure of his or her
language. Hymes points out that knowing the grammar,
phonology and lexicon of a language is not enough. All
native speakers of a language also have to know how to use
that language appropriately in the society in which they live.
They have to know when to speak and when not to, which
greeting formula to use when, which style to use in which
situation, and so on. Non-native speakers also have to
acquire communicative as well as linguistic competence
when learning a foreign language, if they are to be able to use
that language effectively and appropriately and to participate in cross-cultural communication. The ethnography of
speaking involves the study of what is necessary to be
communicatively competent in different communities.
community of practice A sociological concept referring to a
group of people who associate with one another in some
joint activity and who share a set of social practices. The
term normally refers to groups rather smaller than those
indicated by the term speech community. The emphasis is
on the subjective nature of people’s perceptions of this
community and of the boundaries between it and other
communities, and on the way in which this community is
negotiated, constructed and modified by its members in
interaction with each other. In sociolinguistics, the best
known work employing this notion is that of Penelope
Eckert. See Belten High.
complication The process associated with decreolisation and
depidginisation in which the simplification which has
taken place during pidginisation is ‘repaired’ as a result
of language contact between the creole or pidgin and the
source language. Complication thus takes the form of the
reintroduction of irregularities etc. that are present in the
source language but absent in the creole or pidgin.
compound bilingualism A term associated with the work of
Uriel Weinreich. A form of individual bilingualism in
which speakers supposedly have one set of concepts which
are related to two different sets of words in two different
languages. See also coordinate bilingualism.
constraints In variation theory, linguistic and social factors
which have been shown to influence linguistic variation.
For instance, the simplification of consonant clusters in
English, as in old > ol’, left > lef’, west > wes’, is variable:
most speakers sometimes simplify these clusters and sometimes do not. This variation, however, is not random
(although one can never predict in any given instance
whether it will occur or not). The probability that a
consonant cluster will be simplified depends on a number
of factors which influence or constrain this variability.
There are phonological constraints, with simplification
being more frequent before consonants, as in west side,
than before vowels, as in west end; grammatical con-
straints, with simplification being less frequent where
grammatical endings are involved, as in left them, than
where they are not, as in /eft side; and stylistic constraints,
with simplification being more frequent in informal than
in formal situations.
see informant
see accommodation
conversation analysis An area of sociolinguistics with links to
ethnomethodology which analyses the structure and
norms of conversation in face-to-face interaction. Conversation analysts look at aspects of conversation such as
the relationship between questions and answers, or summonses and responses. They are also concerned with rules
for conversational discourse, such as those involving turn-
taking; with conversational devices such as discourse
markers; and with norms for participating in conversa-
tion, such as the rules for interruption, for changing topic,
for overlapping between one speaker and another, for
remaining silent, for closing a conversation, and so on. In
so far as norms for conversational interaction may vary
from society to society, conversation analysis may also
have links with cross-cultural communication and the
ethnography of speaking. By some writers it is opposed
to discourse analysis.
conversational implicature A term introduced by the British
philosopher Paul Grice. Something which is deduced or
inferred, by employing the cooperative principle, from
what someone has said, even though they have not
actually said it. Consider the following conversation:
A: Are you going on holiday this year?
B: I haven’t got any money.
B has not actually answered A’s question as such, but a
clear answer is implied, given that both parties share the
assumption that holidays cost money.
conversational maxims The four sub-principles which underly
Grice’s cooperative principle: ‘Be as informative as necessary but no more so’; ‘Be relevant’; ‘Be clear’ and ‘Be
cooperative principle The principle developed by the philosopher Paul Grice that participants in a conversation
normally cooperate with each other in order to produce
a successful conversation, and that it is therefore legitimate for any participant to assume that any other participant is being cooperative. For example, it is legitimate to
that a response which follows a question is
intended as an answer. See also conversational maxims,
conversational implicature.
coordinate bilingualism A term associated with the work of
Uriel Weinreich. A form of individual bilingualism in
which speakers supposedly have two different sets of
concepts which are related to two different sets of words in
two different languages. See also compound bilingualism.
Copper Island Aleut A fascinating and unusual language, now
probably extinct or almost so, which is the product of
language intertwining. It is the result of an unusually
intimate mixture of Russian and Aleut. (Aleut is a member
of the Eskimo-Aleut language family which is spoken by
perhaps 2,000 people on the Aleutian islands of the
northern Pacific Ocean between Alaska and Siberia,
which are divided administratively between the USA
and Russia.) In this mixture, the vocabulary and noun-
phrase morphology is mostly of Aleutian origin, but the
verbal morphology and the syntax is mainly Russian.
copula absence see copula deletion
copula deletion A feature of a number of dialects of English,
notably African American Vernacular English. In these
dialects, forms of the copula (the verb to be) are variably
absent in certain grammatical and phonological contexts.
Thus it is grammatical in these dialects to say He nice or
We coming or She a teacher, but not, for example, *I
know who you. Many creole languages also lack the
copula in these positions, as do many non-creole languages such as Russian and Hungarian, but since this is
not a variable feature of these languages, it is better to
refer in these cases to ‘copula absence’ rather than ‘copula
Corn Islands The Corn Islands of Nicaragua, Great and Little
Corn Island, which are about fifty miles offshore from the
Miskito Coast town of Bluefields, are inhabited by people,
mostly of African origin, who are native speakers of a
Caribbean type of Central American English.
corpus planning An aspect of language planning and codification in which decisions are taken about the linguistic
characteristics of the variety of language in question.
Typical corpus planning issues involve questions concerning which pronunciation to use of those available; which
syntactic structures and morphological forms are to be
permitted; which of a number of regionally based words
of identical meaning is to be favoured; and what is to be
done about expansion of the vocabulary, if this is thought
to be necessary. Corpus planning is usually contrasted
with status planning. See also language development.
correctness In speech communities which have been subject to
considerable focusing (see focused), native speakers tend
to have notions about which linguistic forms are correct
and which are not. Linguists agree that the language of
non-native speakers can be labelled ‘incorrect’ if it contains constructions or usages that would never be employed by native speakers, such as I am knowing him
since many years. They do not agree, however, that
judgements about correctness can legitimately be made
about forms used by native speakers. They point out that
when such judgements are made about forms in widespread use, such as I done it, they are essentially social
judgements which have to do with the distribution of
power, wealth and prestige in a community. See also
prescriptive, language myths, folk linguistics.
correlational sociolinguistics A term applied by some writers
to the work of linguists like William Labov who in their
research have correlated linguistic variables with social
parameters such as sex, age and social class. The term,
however, is never used by the practitioners of this type of
work, and should be avoided in favour of other terms such
as secular linguistics, since it implies that the correlation is
central and an end in itself rather than what it actually is,
namely a means to an end — a methodology for studying
phenomena such as linguistic change.
covert prestige A term introduced by William Labov in his
1966 book The social stratification of English in New
York City to refer to the favourable connotations that
nonstandard or apparently low-status or ‘incorrect’ forms
have for many speakers. Standard words, pronunciations
and grammatical forms have overt prestige in that they are
publicly acknowledged as ‘correct’ and as bestowing high
social status on their users. We have to assume, however,
that nonstandard and apparently low-status forms do also
have a kind of less publicly acknowledged or hidden
prestige which leads their users to continue to use them.
The covert prestige associated with such linguistic forms
bestows status on their users as being members of their
local community and as having desirable qualities such as
friendliness and loyalty. Covert prestige emerges in under-
reporting in self report tests when speakers claim to use
linguistic features which have lower social status than
those which they actually use.
creole A language which has undergone considerable pidgi-
nisation but where the reduction associated with pidginisation has been repaired by a process of expansion or
creolisation, as a result of its having acquired a community of native speakers and of being employed for an
increasingly wide range of purposes. Creoles which have
not undergone any decreolisation are not normally intelligible to speakers of the original source language. Some
of the better-known creoles include English-based creoles
like the Sranan of Surinam, French-based creoles such as
Haitian Creole, and Portuguese-based creoles such as that
of the Cape Verde Islands, but by no means all of them are
based on European languages. It is a common but undesirable practice to refer to any language which has
undergone admixture as a creole. See also bioprogram
creolisation see creole
creoloid A language which, as a result of language contact,
has experienced simplification and admixture, but has not
undergone the reduction associated with full pidginisation
(nor, therefore, the expansion associated with creolisa-
tion). Such a language will resemble in its linguistic
characteristics a creole which has undergone decreolisation, but will be different in its history: a creoloid remains
at all times intelligible to speakers of its source language if
this remains separate from the creoloid; and it maintains
throughout its development a community of native speakers. A good example of a creoloid is the South African
language Afrikaans, which is historically a form of Dutch
which has undergone a certain amount of simplification
and admixture in a multilingual contact situation. Some
writers have argued that English is in origin a creoloid: a
simplified, mixed form of Old English that arose in the
Old English-Norman French-Old Norse contact situation.
critical discourse analysis A form of discourse analysis which
seeks to establish the underlying assumptions and hidden
(often political) biases in a particular text.
critical linguistics The techniques of linguistic analysis employed by practitioners of critical discourse analysis.
critical period hypothesis The hypothesis that human beings
are genetically programmed to learn perfectly languages
to which they have sufficient exposure up to a certain age,
but that then after this age-threshold has been passed, this
ability shuts down, with the result that adolescents and
adults are generally not good language learners. There is
no general agreement as to the location of this threshold,
and indeed there is probably a lot of variation from one
person to another, but it is probably somewhere between
eight and fourteen. This hypothesis is important in the
development of theories about the origins of pidgin and
creole languages. This is because pidginisation can be
attributed to the learning of languages by speakers who
have passed beyond the critical period.
critical threshold see critical period hypothesis
Croatian see Serbo-Croat
cross-cultural communication Communication between speakers from different cultural backgrounds, which can often be
difficult because of different assumptions about when, why
and how language is to be used. As demonstrated by the
ethnography of speaking, different communities have dif-
ferent norms for how language is to be employed. Crosscultural communication does not necessarily imply that
different languages are involved. Speakers of Australian
English whose families are of Greek origin, for example,
have been shown to have different ideas about the use of
irony than speakers of the same language who are of British
Isles origin.
Csango There is a very large Hungarian-speaking minority in
Romanian Transylvania. It is not widely known, however,
that there is also another Hungarian or ‘Hungarian’
speaking minority in Moldavia in eastern Romania. These
are the Csangos, who are a mostly ignored linguistic
minority rapidly going through a process of language
shift to Romanian and who are distinguished from other
Romanians by their poverty, isolation and Catholicism.
Romanian governments have sometimes denied their
Hungarianness. Now the Csangos are faced with the
reverse kind of Ausbau problem. Since 1989, Hungarian
official bodies have been concerned to ‘save the Csangos’.
They assume that Csangos are Hungarian-speakers and
that young people will benefit from being offered education in Hungary or Transylvania. There is, however, too
much Abstand for this to work easily. Csango is also
widely regarded in Hungary as ‘corrupt Hungarian’,
which gives the Csangos an additional reason to switch
to Romanian.
curvilinear principle The principle, developed by William
Labov, that linguistic change from below normally ori-
ginates in a social group which is neither at the bottom nor
the top of the social hierarchy, but somewhere in the
middle. If a linguistic variable which is involved in such a
change is plotted quantitatively on a graph against social
class, it will thus produce a curvilinear pattern.
dachlos see roofless dialects
dead language A dead language is one which no longer has
any native speakers. See language death.
debt incurred, principle of see linguistic gratuity
decreolisation A situation which arises when a creole language remains or comes back into contact with its original
source language, and is influenced linguistically by the
source language if, as is often the case, the source language
has higher prestige. Speakers of the creole will accommodate (see accommodation) to the source language, and
the creole will become more like the source language. The
original pidginisation, which led to the development of the
pidgin precursor of the creole, involved the processes of
reduction, simplification and admixture. The reduction
will already have been ‘repaired’ by the process of expansion during creolisation. Decreolisation thus consists
linguistically of two processes, one which counteracts the
simplification, namely complication, and another which
removes the admixture, namely purification. Decreolisation often leads to the development of a post-creole
deficit hypothesis see verbal deprivation
dense see network strength
depidginisation The linguistic processes of complication, purification (see decreolisation) and expansion, by which a
pidgin or pidginised (see pidginisation) variety of language comes to resemble or become identical with the
source language from which it was originally derived.
This may occur if speakers of the pidgin or pidginised
variety have extensive contacts with speakers of the source
determination see language determination and status planning
development see language development
diachronic, diachronically literally ‘through time’, hence ‘his-
torical’, the opposite of synchronic. Diachronic linguistics
is thus linguistics which is historical and which looks at
linguistic change through time.
dialect A variety of language which differs grammatically,
phonologically and lexically from other varieties, and
which is associated with a particular geographical area
and/or with a particular social class or status group (see
also sociolect). Varieties which differ from one another
only in pronunciation are known as accents. Varieties
which are associated only with particular social situations
are known as styles. Neither of these should be confused
with dialect. The term is often used to refer only to
nonstandard dialects or to traditional dialects. Strictly
speaking, however, standard varieties such as Standard
English are just as much dialects as any other dialect. A
language is typically composed of a number of dialects.
dialect area
see transition zone
dialect atlas see linguistic atlas
dialect contact Contact between linguistic varieties which
results from communication between speakers of different
but mutually intelligible dialects, often involving accommodation. Such communication is of course very common
indeed, but, from the point of view of sociolinguistics,
such contacts are particularly interesting where they occur
on a large scale, such as at dialect boundaries (see isogloss)
or as a result of urbanisation or colonisation. In these
cases, phenomena such as dialect mixture and hyperadaptation may occur.
dialect continuum (plural: continua) A very common situation
in which geographically neighbouring dialects, particu-
larly traditional rural dialects, differ from one another
minimally but in which the further one travels from any
starting point the more different dialects become. All
dialects will be intelligible to speakers of neighbouring
dialects, but the greater the distance between locations
where dialects are spoken, the more difficult comprehension will be. If the geographical area in question is large
enough, dialects which are linked to one another by a
chain of mutual intelligibility of intervening dialects may
nevertheless themselves not be mutually intelligible. The
Low. German dialects of Schleswig-Holstein, northern
Germany, are part of the same dialect continuum as
the Swiss German dialects of central Switzerland, and
are linked to them by a chain of mutual intelligibility —
there is nowhere on the continuum where speakers cannot
understand the dialects of neighbouring villages — but they
are not mutually intelligible (see West Germanic dialect
continuum). Dialect continua can also be social, with
sociolects changing gradually as one moves up or down
the social scale (see Jamaican Creole). See also acrolect,
basilect, mesolect, North Slavic dialect continuum, South
Slavic dialect continuum, West Romance dialect conti-
dialect mixture A consequence of large-scale, long-term dialect
contact in which face-to-face interaction between speakers
of different dialects, stemming from developments such as
emigration or urbanisation, leads to accommodation between these speakers and thus the mixing of different
dialect forms. The end result of the mixture may ultimately
be the formation of a new dialect, such as Australian
English, with speakers selecting a combination of forms
from different dialects which are present in the mixture for
retention, and discarding others. The new
dialect will
typically have the linguistic characteristics of a koiné.
‘dialectology The academic study of dialects, often associated
especially with the phonological, morphological and lexical study of rural traditional dialects, which were the
original concern of this discipline, and the spatial or
geographical distribution of traditional dialect forms
(see traditional dialectology). In more recent years, however, dialectologists have also been concerned with syntactic features, with urban dialectology, with social
dialectology, and with the social distribution of linguistic
forms (see sociolects).
dialectometry A form of spatial dialectology, which has links
with geolinguistics (1) and with traditional dialectology.
Dialectometry is associated particularly with the work of
Jean Séguy, and involves the study of (for the most part)
traditional dialects using quantitative and computerised
methodology for the location and weighting of isoglosses.
dialect-switching see divergent dialect community
diasystem A notion developed by Uriel Weinreich in which a
higher-level (usually phonological) system incorporates
two or more dialect systems and shows the similarities
and differences between them and in particular the systematic nature of correspondences between them. For
example, a diasytem portraying the short vowel systems
of northern and southern English might look like this:
North, South //i
» e » &
~ o//
This demonstrates that northern English dialects have the
same vowel in the lexical sets of but and put and thus have
one fewer vowel than southern English dialects.
diatopic Literally ‘through space’, hence ‘spatial’. Diatopic
variation in language is thus the same as geographical
diffuse According to a typology of language varieties devel-
oped by the British sociolinguist Robert B. LePage, a
characteristic of certain language communities, and thus
language varieties. Some communities are relatively more
diffuse, while others are relatively more focused. Any
speech act performed by an individual constitutes an
act of identity. If a wide range of identities is available
for enactment in a speech community, that community
can be regarded as diffuse. Diffuse linguistic communities
tend to be those where little standardisation or codification have taken place, where there is relatively little
agreement about norms of usage, where speakers show
little concern for marking off their language variety from
other varieties, and where they may accord relatively little
importance even to what their language is called.
diffusion (1) The process whereby words, pronunciations or
grammatical forms spread or diffuse from one variety to
another. To do this, forms must spread from one speaker
to another via face-to-face interaction in situations of
dialect contact, in which speakers of different dialects
may accommodate to each other and, if interaction is
frequent enough, permanently acquire features from other
dialects. Diffusion may be geographical, in which forms
spread from one area (and thus geographical dialect) to
another, or social, in which forms spread from one social
group (and thus sociolect) to another. ‘Diffusion’ can also
be used of the geographical spread of a language, often at
the expense of another through language shift, or as a
result of language planning. (2) The carrying out of speech
acts and other processes whereby speech communities
become diffuse, in the sense of LePage.
diglossia (1) A term associated with the American linguist
Charles A. Ferguson which describes sociolinguistic situa-
tions such as those that obtain in Arabic-speaking countries and in German-speaking Switzerland. In such a
diglossic community, the prestigious standard or ‘High’
(or H) variety, which is linguistically related to but significantly different from the vernacular or ‘Low’ (or L)
varieties, has no native speakers. All members of the
speech community are native speakers of one of the L
varieties, such as Colloquial Arabic and Swiss German,
and learn the H variety, such as Classical Arabic and
Standard German, at school. H varieties are typically used
in writing and in high-status spoken domains where
preparation of what is to be said or read is possible. L
varieties are used in all other contexts. (2) Ferguson’s
original term was later extended by the American sociolinguist Joshua Fishman to include sociolinguistic situa-
tions other than those where the H and L varieties are
varieties of the same language, such as Arabic or German.
In Fishman’s usage, even multilingual countries such as
Nigeria, where English functions as a nationwide prestige
language which is learnt in school and local languages
such as Hausa and Yoruba are spoken natively, are
described as being diglossic. In these cases, languages
such as English are described as H varieties, and languages
such as Yoruba as L.
diminutive The opposite of augmentative. A form, usually of a
noun, with the added meaning of ‘little’. In European
languages this is usually signalled by a suffix, as in English
notelet from note, Greek pedhaki ‘small child’ from pedhi
‘child’, or French fillette ‘small girl’ from fille. There is
frequently an associated meaning of endearment. See also
discourse analysis A branch of linguistics which deals with
linguistic units at levels above the sentence, that is texts
and conversations. Those branches of discourse analysis
which come under the heading of sociolinguistics presuppose that language is being used in social interaction and
thus deal with conversation. Other non-sociolinguistic
branches of discourse analysis are often known as text
linguistics. Discourse analysis is opposed by some writers
to conversation analysis.
discourse marker Units recognised by linguists working in
conversation analysis and discourse analysis. Discourse
markers are words, phrases or sounds which have no real
lexical meaning but have instead an important function in
marking conversational structure, in signalling the conversational intentions of speakers and in securing cooperation and responses from listeners. Discourse markers in English include well, oh, actually, OK, now, and so
discreteness A term
often used in
sociolinguistics to contrast with ‘continuity’ as, for example, in dialect continuum.
distance see Abstand language
divergence see accommodation
divergence controversy A controversy between certain Amer-
ican linguists about the relationship between African
Amerian Vernacular English and other varieties of American English. It is generally agreed amongst American
linguists that AAVE has converged on White varieties
of English over the centuries, that is, it is now more similar
to White dialects than it used to be, and may even be a
decreolised creole. However, data obtained by sociolinguists from the 1980s has been interpreted by some as
indicating that it is once again diverging from White
varieties, perhaps as a result of the increasing ghettoisa-
tion and residential separation of White and Black Americans. Other linguists disagree with this analysis, and
dispute the data and/or its interpretation.
divergent dialect community A speech community in which
the vernacular variety is linguistically very different from
the prestige or standard variety. In such communities,
there may exist a very long social dialect continuum, such
as a post-creole continuum.
Alternatively, if no such
continuum exists, the clear linguistic separation of vernacular and standard may lead to code-switching or dialectswitching between the varieties. Diglossic communities
(see diglossia [1]) are a special case of divergent commu-
nities. Sociolinguists encounter different methodological
problems in divergent dialect communities than in other
communities, particularly in the setting up of linguistic
variables. Within the English-speaking world, divergent
dialect communities are to be found in the Caribbean and
in Northern Britain and northern Ireland. Communities in
North America and southern England (except for speakers of traditional dialects) typically speak dialects which
are linguistically much more similar to Standard English.
Djuka see Ndjuka
domain A concept employed particularly in studies of codeswitching in multilingual contexts and in the study of
other situations where different languages, dialects or
styles are used in different social contexts. A domain is
a combination of factors which are believed to influence
choice of code (language, dialect or style) by speakers.
Such factors might include participants (in a conversation), topic and location.
For example, the domestic
domain, which would probably produce an informal style
of speech, might involve the home location, family parti-
cipants and a day-to-day topic.
domestic domain see domain
double negative see multiple negation
dual-source see Pitkern, Russenorsk
Ebonics A journalistic term, generally avoided by linguists, for
African American Vernacular English. The term gained
some notoriety during the controversy surrounding the
educational proposals made by the school board of Oakland, California.
Eckert, Penelope see Belten High, community of practice
educational linguistics The application of the findings of
linguistics, particularly sociolinguistics, to the solution
of educational problems, especially those associated with
mother-tongue education such as the role of nonstandard
dialect in the classroom.
EFL see English as a foreign language
elaborated code A concept developed by the British sociolo-
gist Basil Bernstein in connection with his work on language use, social class and socialisation. Elaborated code,
originally called ‘public language’, is a form of language
use which, according to Bernstein, is characterised by a
high degree of explicitness, and is therefore suitable for
public use in situations where participants do not have a
large fund of shared knowledge or assumptions in common. Elaborated code is thought of as lying at the oppo-
site end of a continuum of types of language use from
restricted code. Bernstein argued that some working-class
children in Britain were disadvantaged in the education
system because they were unable to use elaborated code.
Bernstein’s theory aroused considerable hostility on the
part of linguists in its initial formulation as it discussed —
irrelevantly, as it now seems — grammatical features, such
as pronouns and relative clauses, and was interpreted by
some educationists as having some link to Standard
English. Elaborated code in fact has no connection with
any dialect, but is rather concerned, as part of a theory of
language use and social structure, with the content of
what speakers say.
embedding problem One of a number of problems pointed to
by the American sociolinguist William Labov in connection with the study of linguistic change within the field of
secular linguistics. It is the problem, in the study of
linguistic changes as they are actually taking place, of
locating and analysing both the linguistic and social
settings in which the changes are occurring. In the study
of sound change, the linguist has to look not only at
structural pressures in the sound system, as was the
practice in pre-Labovian historical linguistics, but also
— and simultaneously — at the social background against
which the change is taking place. The change has to be
situated in a matrix of both linguistic and social factors.
endogenous minority language A language spoken by a linguistic minority in a country and which is not the majority
language in any other country, such as Basque, which is a
minority language in Spain and France, and is nowhere a
majority language.
English as a foreign language (EFL) Countries in which English is a foreign language are those such as Germany,
Japan or Morocco where English is not spoken as a native
language, and where it does not have any important or
official role within the country i.e. it is normally learnt and
used to permit communication with English native speak-
ers and with other non-native speakers from outside the
English as a second language (ESL) Countries in which English is.a second language are those such as Pakistan,
Nigeria or Fiji where English is not spoken as a native
language but where it has an important or official role as a
means of communication within the country in the education system and/or the media and/or the government.
English English The English of England (as opposed to Australia, Canada and so on). Not to be confused with British
English. Also less happily known as ‘Anglo-English’.
Eskilstuna The town in central Sweden where the first large-
scale, quantitative sociolinguistic study of a dialect of
Swedish was undertaken by Bengt Nordberg and associates, starting in the 1960s.
ESL see English as a second language
ethnic group An important concept both in language planning
studies and in certain types of secular linguistics. An
ethnic group is a sociocultural group or ‘race’ of people
who feel themselves to be members of a social entity which
is distinct from other social groups, and witha culture that
is distinct from that of other groups. As defined by the
American sociolinguist Joshua Fishman, an ethnic group
is smaller and more locality-bound than a nationality, but
this distinction is not maintained by all writers. There is in
any case a continuum of size and locality-boundedness
along which groups of people can be ranged. Thus it is not
unusual for groups as different in size — and relative size
within their own nation (see nationism) — as African
Americans, Scandinavian Sami, Icelanders and Ukrainians to be referred to as constituting ethnic groups.
ethnography of communication A term identical in reference
to ethnography of speaking, except that nonverbal communication is also included. For example, proxemics — the
study of factors such as how physically close to each other
speakers. may be, in different ¢ultures, when communicating with one another - could be discussed under this
ethnography of speaking A branch of sociolinguistics or
anthropological linguistics particularly associated with
the American scholar Dell Hymes. The ethnography of
speaking studies the norms and rules for using language in
social situations in different cultures and is thus clearly
important for cross-cultural communication. The concept
of communicative
is a central one in the
ethnography of speaking. Crucial topics include the study
of who is allowed to speak to who — and when; what types
of language are to be used in different contexts; how to do
things with language, such as make requests or tell jokes;
how much indirectness it is normal to employ; how often
it is usual to speak, and how much one should say; how
long it is permitted to remain silent; and the use of
formulaic language such as expressions used for greeting,
leave-taking and thanking.
ethnolect A variety of language associated with a particular
ethnic group, such as Angloromany.
ethnolinguistic vitality A concept developed by Howard Giles
and used to refer to the amount of dynamism present in a
particular linguistic community. The term is normally
used with reference to linguistic minorities and the likelihood of their languages surviving or becoming subject to
language shift and language death. See also vitality.
ethnomethodology A branch of sociology which has links
with certain sorts of sociolinguistics such as conversation
analysis because of its use of recorded conversational
material as data. Most ethnomethodologists, however,
are generally not interested in the language of conversation as such but rather in the content of what is said. They
study not language or speech, but talk. In particular, they
are interested in what is mot said. They focus on the shared
common-sense knowledge speakers have of their society
which they can leave unstated in conversation because it is
taken for granted by all participants.
expansion Part of the process of creolisation in which the
reduction which has occurred during pidginisation is
repaired, as the creole acquires native speakers and/or
is used in a wider range of functions. Expansion involves
an increase in the vocabulary of the language, as well as
the development of an often much wider range of grammatical and stylistic devices. Sometimes this development
may take place with the help of external stimuli, such as
when words are borrowed from other languages. Other
developments may be language-internal, such as when
new words are coined, by compounding or some other
means, from words already available in the language. As
far as grammatical expansion is concerned, it is the
development of grammatical categories and devices with-
out external stimuli.that is the focus of the bioprogram
hypothesis, the interest centring on the possibility that
new features are generated directly from the innate human
language faculty itself.
exogenous minority language A language which is spoken by
a linguistic minority in a country but is the majority
language in some other country, such as Slovenian, which
is a minority language in Austria and Italy, but the
majority language in Slovenia.
eye dialect A term used to refer to the representation of
nonstandard dialects in writing, particularly with refer-
ence to spellings such as <wot> for what where the
spelling does not actually indicate a pronunciation different from that represented by the standard orthography,
and where it rather has the role of simply indicating that
the speaker is using a nonstandard dialect or low prestige
accent. For example, writing <o> instead of <a> in what
actually tells us nothing about the vowel the speaker is
supposed to be using and is probably rather a way of
indicating that the speaker is using a glottal stop at the end
of the word rather than [t].
face In a conversation, a speaker’s face consists of the positive
impression of themselves that they wish to make on the
other participants. If such an impression is not successfully conveyed or is not accepted by the other participants,
loss of face will result. Face, however, is not the sole
responsibility of the individual concerned. In many forms
of face-to-face interaction, all participants will be concerned to maintain not only their own face but also that of
the others. See also negative politeness and positive politeness.
face-to-face interaction Conversation or communication between two or more people which is interactive (e.g. it is not
a monologue), and in which the participants are physically
present (e.g. they are not talking on the telephone). Studies
of face-to-face interaction are important in the social
psychology of language; conversation analysis; studies
of positive politeness and negative politeness; and in
studies of accommodation and diffusion.
familiar forms see T and V pronouns
Fanagalé Also Fanakalo. A pidgin language dating from the
1800s whose main lexifier is Zulu but which also has
about twenty-five per cent of its vocabulary derived from
English, with some Afrikaans also. It is mainly spoken in
South Africa, particularly in mining areas, but is also used
in Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Ferguson, Charles see diglossia
fine stratification In Labovian secular linguistics, linguistic
variables are employed to investigate social stratification
and style stratification. This stratification can take the
form of fine stratification or sharp stratification. In fine
stratification, correlations between social factors and
scores for linguistic variables show that there is a continuum between one social group or style and another,
rather than a series of sharp breaks in linguistic behaviour.
first language A language (or languages) which a speaker
learns first, from infancy, as their native language or
mother-tongue. Compare primary language.
Fishman, Joshua see diglossia, ethnic group, nationality, nationism
focal area A concept from traditional dialectology and more
recent work in dialectometry, geolinguistics (1), and spatial dialectology. Traditional dialectologists discovered
early on in the history of the discipline that isoglosses
for individual words and pronunciations rarely coincided
with each other. One reaction to that finding was to
suggest that there was no such thing as a dialect totally
distinct from other dialects. This is in most cases strictlyspeaking correct (see dialect continuum), but it is not
simply the case that isoglosses are randomly distributed.
Dialect features show different types of geographical
patterning. Some geographical areas are crossed by no
or relatively few isoglosses.*These are central focal areas
or kernel areas from which linguistic innovations have
spread to surrounding areas. Such focal areas are in turn
surrounded by transition zones which separate them from
other focal areas. Focal areas often centre on influential
urban areas or on means of communication such as roads
or rivers.
focused According to a typology of language varieties developed by the British sociolinguist Robert B. LePage, some
language communities
and thus language varieties are
relatively more diffuse, while others are relatively more
focused. Any speech act performed by an individual
constitutes an act of identity. If only a narrow range of
identities is available for enactment in a speech community, that community can be regarded as focused. Focused
linguistic communities tend to be those where considerable standardisation and codification have taken place,
where there is a high degree of agreement about norms of
usage, where speakers tend to show concern for ‘purity’
and marking their language variety off from other varieties, and where everyone agrees about what the language
is called. European
language communities
tend to be
heavily focused. LePage points out that notions such as
admixture, code-mixing, code-switching, semilingualism
and multilingualism depend on a focused-language-
centred point of view of the separate status of language
focusing The process whereby language varieties become fo-
folk etymology A process whereby speakers alter the form of a
word, usually a word of foreign or learned origin, to make
it resemble something which makes more sense to them in
terms of their own language variety, such as English
crayfish from French écrevisse, and American English
woodchuck from Algonquian otchek. The effect of this
process is to increase the amount of apparent semantic
folk linguistics This term can refer to what members
of a
speech community know, or believe they know, about
their language, and about language in general, as well as
to the study of these beliefs by linguists.
foreigner talk A way of talking to foreigners, or, better, non-
native speakers, who are not able — or who are thought
not to be able — to understand normal fluent speech in a
particular language. This term is particularly useful for
describing aspects of the language used to foreigners
which are institutionalised, i.e. there are norms
in the
language community, which are learned by people growing up in that community, for how one should speak to
non-native speakers. These norms may include gramma-
tical simplification such as Me go, you stay and the use of
certain words (such as English savvy?) which may well
not be known to foreigners at all. Foreigner talk is
thought by many to be of interest in the formation of
forensic sociolinguistics The use of sociolinguistic knowledge
and techniques in the investigation of crime, and in the
prosecution and defence of people accused of crimes.
Sociolinguists have been employed, for instance, to de-
monstrate that a defendant could not have made a telephone call recorded by police because his dialect did not
tally with that on the recording; and to decode recordings
of communication between criminals speaking in an antilanguage such as Pig Latin.
formal forms see T and V pronouns
fossilisation A term used to describe a situation where a nonnative learner of a language reaches a particular stage of
proficiency and then stops, such that interlanguage features become permanent in their usage. In sociolinguistics,
fossilisation is of particular interest for the study of the
development of pidgin languages.
francophone French-speaking
Franco-Provencal A group of dialects from the West Romance
dialect continuum which are or were spoken in all of
western Switzerland except for the Jura mountain area,
the neighbouring area of eastern central France including
the regions around Lyons and Grenoble, and in the Val
d’Aosta in Italy. It is today sometimes considered to be a
dialect of French, and as a consequence the Val d’Aosta
has been designated an officially French-Italian bilingual
area. However, the linguistic differences from French are
considerable, with the linguistic characteristics of the
dialects being intermediate
those of French
and Occitan. Although the dialects in Italy are thriving,
the Swiss dialects are now extinct except in some small
areas in the cantons of Fribourg and Valais. FrancoProvencal has never really been a language as such in
that it never achieved true autonomy, although it was used
in writing for some purposes under the Kingdom of
Savoy. To illustrate the degree of linguistic distance involved here is a short list of Franco-Provengal words with
their French equivalents:
tha [with th as in English think]
jaune _ thona [with ¢h as in English this]
variation Variation in language which is not subject to
any constraints. Most sociolinguists believe that variation
of this type is rather rare.
Frisian A group of minority languages (see linguistic minor-
ity) from the West Germanic dialect continuum. West
Frisian is spoken in the northern part of the Netherlands
by about 300,000 people. North Frisian is spoken in
eastern coastal areas of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany by
about 10,000 people. East Frisian, which is moribund, is
spoken in a small area of Ostfriesland, Germany. They
are historically closely related but no longer mutually
( Bremerhaven
So, s
\ soil
fe 7
» Minster gx a
The Frisian-speaking areas
Friulian A Rhaeto-Romance language, related to Romansh
and Ladin, from the West Romance dialect continuum,
spoken by a linguistic minority of about 500,000 people
in north-eastern Italy.
Fronteirigo see Fronterizo
Fronterizo A linguistic variety which is a mixture of Spanish
and Portuguese, and which is spoken in areas of northern
hispanophone Uruguay close to the frontier with lusophone Brazil.
functional sociolinguistics A form of functional linguistics
developed by Michael Halliday and his associates in
which there is a particular concentration on the ways
in which meaning is developed in discourse, and on
register and genre.
Galician A language from the West Romance dialect continuum spoken in north-western Spain by perhaps as many
as three million people. As an Ausbau language with a
close relationship with the national language, Spanish, the
status of Galician as a language, as opposed to a dialect of
Spanish, has not always been secure. Autonomy today is
signalled by the use of the language in the media and to a
limited extent in education, and by the establishment of a
Galician Language Academy. Many people in Galicia
speak only Spanish. Those who do speak Galician are
mostly bilingual in the two languages, and considerable
mixing between the two may occur. Galician is linguistically closer to Portuguese than to Spanish, and has
therefore been claimed by some to be a dialect of Portuguese. Historically, it would be more accurate to say that
Portuguese is a dialect of Galician, since Romance dialects
spread southwards from Galicia into what is now Portugal during the medieval reconquest from the Arabs.
gayspeak A label sometimes used to refer to the antilanguage
of male homosexuals, In a number of anglophone areas,
this variety includes a number
of elements
of Polari
vocabulary and backslang.
Geechee see Gullah
genderlect A variety or lect which is specific to or particularly
associated with either male or female speakers. This term
is in most usages misleading, in that it suggests that there
may be communities where male and female speakers use
radically different varieties. In fact, while there are some
more-or-less gender-specific usages in many if not most
languages, these range from the use of a small number of
words, phrases or conversational devices in some lan-
guages to particular vowels, consonants or grammatical
endings in others. Most differences between male and
female speech are quantitatively-revealed
rather than absolute differences.
generic pronoun In linguistics, a generic form is one which
refers to a class or group of entities rather than to a
specific member of a class. A particular issue in recent
discussion about language and society has been the generic use of the English masculine pronouns he, him and his
(and similar pronouns in certain other languages) to
include both male and female referents, as in Any student
who fails to complete his work . . . where students may be
either male or female. Feminine pronouns have traditionally not been employed in this generic way, with she, her,
hers referring only to female persons. This apparent bias
in favour of males can be awkward, illogical or mislead-
ing, and it has been argued that the generic use of he is
unjust and undesirable in societies which believe in the
equality of men and women.
Linguistic solutions have
been sought to the problem, such as the use
well-established singular they in English
who fails to complete their work . . .), the
s/he, the use of generic she, or the invention
pronoun forms.
of the already
(Any student
use of written
of totally new
genre An identifiably distinct type of discourse or text recognised by a particular culture and with particular linguistic
characteristics. Examples of genres include poems, conversations, speeches, stories, advertisements, love letters,
sermons, fairy tales, jokes, football commentaries. There
is some overlap in technical usage between genre and
geographical linguistics see geolinguistics
geography of language see geolinguistics
geolinguistics (1) A relatively recent label used by some lin-
guists to refer to work in sociolinguistics which represents
a synthesis of Labovian
secular linguistics and spatial
dialectology. The quantitative study of the geographical
diffusion of words or pronunciations from one area to
another is an example of work in this field. (2) A term
used by human geographers to describe modern quantitative research on geographical aspects of language maintenance and language shift, and other aspects of the
spatial relationships to be found between languages and
dialects. An example of such work is the study of geographical patterning in the use of English and Welsh in
Wales. Given the model of the distinction between sociolinguistics and the sociology of language, it might be
better to refer to this sort of work as the geography of
Geordie An informal term referring to inhabitants of the
Tyneside area of north-eastern England, and hence to
the English dialect and accent of that area.
Giles, Howard /dgailz/ See accommodation,
vitality, matched guise technique
glossolalia ‘Speaking in tongues’. A religious practice asso-
ciated particularly with branches of the Pentecostal Christian Church in which speakers believe that they are
speaking in a language unknown to them. Research has
shown that they are in fact not speaking any genuine
glottal stop A consonantal articulation achieved by a complete closure of the glottis followed by an audible release
of this closure. This articulation has been much investigated in sociolinguistic studies of British English, in many
varieties of which t-glottaling is a linguistic variable. In
these varieties the glottal stop is a way of pronouncing
intervocalic /t/, as in city (sometimes represented in writ-
ing as ci’y) and word-final /t/, as in sit.
graphisation A term from language planning used to describe
that part of the process of language development which
involves the selection of a writing system or alphabet for a
language and the agreement on conventions for its orthography or spelling and punctuation. The development of
an orthography usually follows on from phonological
analysis carried out by linguists.
Grice, Paul see conversational implicature,
maxims, cooperative principle
Gullah /galo/ A creole language with English as its major
lexifier spoken in the United States in coastal areas,
particularly off-shore islands, from southern North Carolina down to northern Florida, with a particular concentration in South Carolina and Georgia. Also known as
Sea Island Creole English and Geechee. A closely related
variety known as Afro-Seminole, discovered by the British
sociolinguist Ian Hancock, is spoken in Bracketville,
Gumperz, John /'gamporz/ see Hemnesberget,
linguistics, Kupwar
Halliday, Michael see antilanguage, cline, functional socio-
linguistics, register
Hammer, The see Belfast
Hancock, Ian see Angloromany, Gullah
Haugen, Einar /haugn/ see autonomy, heteronomy
Hemnesberget /"hemnesbergo/ A small town in northern Nor-
way, to the south of Mo i Rana, with a current population
of about 1300. The town was the site of an influential and
much-quoted 1960s study of code-switching (between the
local dialect and Bokmal) by John Gumperz. In spite of its
sociolinguistic-theoretical importance and its insights into
the functions of code-switching, the study has been criticised by Norwegian linguists, who find some aspects of
the study suspect, especially because it is very usual in
Norway for people to speak their local dialects on all
heteronomy A term associated with the work of the Norwegian-American linguist Einar Haugen. Dependence — the
opposite of autonomy. Heteronomy is a characteristic of a
variety of a language that has not been subject to standardisation, and which is not regarded as having an
existence independent of a corresponding autonomous
standard. A heteronomous variety is typically a nonstandard variety whose speakers and writers are socially,
culturally and educationally dependent on an autono-
mous variety of the same language, and who look to
the standard autonomous variety as the one which naturally corresponds to their vernacular.
Hiberno-English see Irish English
High variety see diglossia
hispanophone Spanish-speaking
historicity A characteristic of a language or language variety
where there is a continuous tradition of native speakers
handing down the language from one generation to another. Languages which do not have this social characteristic include artificial languages such as Esperanto;
classical languages, such as Latin and Sanskrit, which
no longer have native speakers; and pidgin languages,
which do not (yet) have any native speakers.
Hymes, Dell see communicative competence, ethnography of
speaking, speech act
hyperadaptation A linguistic process resulting from dialect
contact. Speakers of one variety attempt to adopt features
from another variety, but overdo it, overgeneralising from
correspondences they have noticed between the two varieties. Thus speakers of non-rhotic English English accents,
in attempting to imitate rhotic (for example American)
accents, may incorrectly insert an r into the pronunciation
of words like calm /ka:m/ > /ka:rm/ because they have
observed that rhotic accents have an r in words like farm
/fa:rm/ corresponding to their own pronunciation /fa:m/.
The best known term relating to types of hyperadaptation
is hypercorrection. Other forms include hyperdialectism;
and hyperurbanism, in which speakers of rural dialects
overgeneralise urban dialect forms. Linguistically, this
process is the same as that which in child language studies
and second language learning is called overgeneralisation.
hypercorrection A form of hyperadaptation in which speakers
of a lower prestige variety, in attempting to adopt features
of a higher prestige variety, incorrectly analyse differences
between the two varieties and overgeneralise on the basis
of observed correspondences. An example from English
English is the faulty ‘correction’ of the north of England
pronunciation of words such as look from /luk/ to supposedly RP /lak/ by analogy with correctly observed northern versus RP correspondences such as duck /duk/ versus
/dak/. See also Labov-hypercorrection.)
hyperdialectism A form of hyperadaptation in which speakers
produce overgeneralised forms in nonstandard dialects. This
can take place as a result of faulty analyses, for example, in
the speech of actors attempting to imitate certain regional
varieties, and even in the speech of local-dialect speakers
themselves if they attempt to reproduce pronunciations or
constructions typical of older forms of the dialect with which
they are not sufficiently familiar. It can also occur as the
result of neighbour opposition, when dialect speakers overgeneralise differences between their own and neighbouring
dialects in order to symbolise their separate identities.
hyperurbanism see hyperadaptation
hypocoristic A term used to refer to a ‘pet name’ — a familiar
form of a name, such as Bob from Robert, and often
involving a diminutive, such as Johnny from John.
idiolect A variety of language used by an individual speaker.
illocutionary act see speech act theory
illocutionary force see speech act theory
immersion programmes An educational system whereby pupils are taught some or all of their school subjects through
the medium
of a language which is not their native
language. In Canada, for example, some anglophone
children attend schools where much of the curriculum
is taught in French, though they will normally continue to
speak English to each other outside the classroom. The
is not only that children should learn to
become fluent in French, but also that they should gain
insights into the culture of the francophone linguistic
minority in Canada. Compare submersion.
immigrant language A language spoken by a linguistic minority where that minority consists of a community which
has only relatively recently»arrived in the country in
question, such as Albanian in Switzerland, Cambodian
in the United States, Arabic in France, or Panjabi in the
United Kingdom. Children speaking such languages are
often subjected to language submersion in the education
system of their new country. It has also been suggested,
controversially, that in some cases they may suffer from
double semilingualism.
implicational scale A term from variation theory particularly
associated with the study of the post-creole continuum.
The American linguist David DeCamp in 1971 introduced
the implicational table or scalogram as a way of showing
relationships between
linguistic varieties. He demon-
strated that certain linguistic forms from the Jamaican
social dialect continuum had both creole and standard
variants. These variants can be ranked in terms of their
‘creoleness’ and ‘standardness’ on an implicational hierarchy that is observed by (nearly all) speakers, such that
usage by a speaker of creole forms from a particular point
on the hierarchy implies that one can predict that he or
she will also use creole forms from lower down on
the hierarchy, but not necessarily from higher up.
That is, some mesolectal forms are more basilectal or
acrolectal than others. Similarly, use of standard forms
from a particular point on the continuum also implies use
of standard forms from higher up on the hierarchy, but
not necessarily use of those from lower down. See also
implicational table A table used to portray implicational
relationships, such as those obtaining on a post-creole
or other social dialect continuum, between speakers’ use
of linguistic features, in which variants can be ranged on
an implicational scale, as in the table below.
impoverishment see reduction
indicator In secular linguistics, a linguistic variable which
shows social stratification but not style stratification. In
investigations of the embedding problem associated with
linguistic change, indicators represent a relatively early
stage in the development of linguistic variables, and may
later on develop into markers. Indicators are typically
involved in change from below.
indirectness A term particularly associated with conversation
analysis, interactional sociolinguistics and the ethnography of speaking. It is normal in all human societies for
speakers not always to say exactly what they mean. It is
important for reasons relating to face and negative and
positive politeness that speakers should on some occasions be able to hint at their meanings rather than stating
them directly. The American sociolinguist Deborah Tannen has argued that some societies use this sort of indirectness as a conversational strategy more frequently than
others. In communities such as Greece, where indirectness
is rather frequently employed, speakers will thus be more
sensitive to hints and clues as to what other speakers’ true
intentions and feeling are than in, for example, many
English-speaking cultures. She has also suggested that
American men use indirectness less, and are therefore less
sensitive to its use by others, than American women. See
also signifying.
informant A native speaker of a language who helps a linguist
by working as a source of linguistic data from or about
that language. The Linguistic Society of America has
suggested that the term consultant should be used instead
as a way of indicating that the relationship is one where
the informant is the expert and the linguist the ‘learner’. It
is probable, however, that this suggestion was also mo-
tivated by the fact that, in American English, informant
can also refer to someone who gives information against
another person, typically a criminal. Most writers in
English outside the United States continue to use informant, however, probably because in British English informant does not have this other meaning (informer being
used instead). Informant also seems more appropriate for
use in cases where the person concerned provides data
without knowing that they have done so. It is perfectly
possible, for example, to obtain data from writing by, or
recordings of, speakers after they are dead.
inherent variability A term from secular linguistics which is
employed to claim that variability in a particular language
variety is not the result of the borrowing of additional
variants from other varieties but is inherent in the system
of the variety itself. While it is acknowledged that borrowing from other varieties does occur, it is also agreed by
sociolinguists that all dialects of all languages are inherently variable to some extent: variability is a universal
characteristic of human language. Variability may be
related to an ongoing linguistic change, with variation
occurring between older and newer forms, but this is not
necessarily the case. Many varieties of British English, for
example, show inherent variability in alternation between
/h/ and @ in words such as hat, house and hedge (see
linguistic variable) which is not involved in any current
linguistic change at all.
institutional linguistics A form of linguistics which looks at the
use of language in professions such as law and medicine.
institutionalised see foreigner talk, lingua franca
intellectualisation The process in language planning in which
the vocabulary of the language of a community is ex-
panded, either by borrowing from other languages or by
coining, compounding or other language-internal means.
Intellectualisation is undertaken in order to enable a
language’s speakers more readily to speak and write about
academic, scientific and other topics which the community has hitherto not spoken or written about, or which it
has spoken and written about using some other language.
interactional sociolinguistics A term associated with the work
of John Gumperz. A form of micro-sociolinguistics which
studies the use of language in face-to-face interaction and
which assumes that language as it is used in social interaction is constitutive of social relationships i.e. speakers
and listeners use language to maintain, develop, alter,
refine and define social relationships.
see admixture
interlanguage A term introduced by Larry Selinker in 1972 to
refer to the variety of language used by someone who is
learning a foreign language. This variety is in some ways
intermediate between the speaker’s native language and
the target language, since the target language will be
subject to interference or admixture from the learner’s
native language. Crucially, though, the interlanguage will
also contain elements which are not present in either the
native language or the target language. The interlanguage
will develop and change as the learner progresses, but may
also be subject to fossilisation.
international language A lingua franca which is used for
communication between different countries. English is
currently very often used this way, as are other languages
such as Russian and French.
intervocalic ‘Vocalic’ means
‘having to do with vowels’, so
intervocalic is a term which is used to refer to sounds
(normally consonants) which occur ‘between vowels’. Intervocalic /t/ in English is thus the /t/ which appears in
words like city, butter, meeting. In some accents of English,
intervocalic /t/ may be pronounced as a glottal stop.
intrusive /r/ In non-rhotic accents of English, non-prevocalic
/t/ does not occur. This is because a sound change has
taken place in these accents such that /r/ was lost except
where it occurred before a vowel. This has the consequence
that words like car have two pronunciations, one with /r/,
/ka:1/, before a vowel, as in car engine, and one without /r/,
/ka:/, before a consonant, as in car wash. (Where the /r/ is
pronounced, as in car engine, it is known as linking /r/,
because it ‘links’ one word to the next.) This alternation
between the two different pronunciations has, as a result of
analogy, been extended by speakers of non-rhotic accents
to words which did not originally have an /r/, as in Ma was
/ma:/ but Ma is /ma:r/. It is this non-historical /r/ which is
known as ‘intrusive’ /r/. In fact, although they are diachronically different, linking /r/ and intrusive /r/ are synchronically
automatically insert an /r/ at the end of words after the
vowels of words such as Ma, car, law, more, hear, idea,
butter, America if the next word begins with a vowel,
regardless of whether this /r/ is historically ‘justified’ or not.
Irish English The English of Ireland (as opposed to England,
Australia and so on). Sometimes less happily known as
‘Hiberno-English’ and, even less happily, as ‘Anglo-Irish’.
isogloss A term from dialectology for a line drawn on a dialect
map marking off an area which has one particular variant
of a linguistic form from another neighbouring area which
has a different variant. An additional term, isophone, is
available in strict usage for referring to lines drawn be-
tween areas which have different phonetic or phonological
variants, leaving isogloss to refer to lexical differences. In
practice, however, most writers use isogloss to apply to
phonetic, phonological, grammatical and lexical boundaries. Well-known isoglosses include the maken-machen
line in Germany (see Rhenish Fan), the path /px0/-/pa:0/
line in England, and the greasy /s/-/z/ line in the USA.
isophone see isogloss
Jamaican Creole The English-lexifier creole spoken in various
mesolect and basilect forms in Jamaica. Jamaica provides
a good example of a post-creole continuum. The more
basilectal varieties of the creole are not readily mutually
intelligible with English. The creole is often referred to in
Jamaica itself as ‘patwa’ (see patois).
jargon (1) A form of language which has arisen in a language
contact situation as a result of pidginisation, but which
has not yet undergone stabilisation or focusing (see fo-
cused) or any form of even informal codification. Such
diffuse language varieties are also known as pre-pidgin
varieties. (2) A non-technical term used of the register
associated with a particular activity by outsiders who do
not participate in this activity. The use of this term implies
that one considers the vocabulary of the register in ques-
tion to be unnecessarily difficult and obscure. The register
of law may be referred to as ‘legal jargon’ by non-lawyers.
jocks and burnouts see Belten High
Judaeo-German see Yiddish
Judaeo-Spanish see Ladino
Karelian A Finno-Ugric language spoken in Russia, in areas
close to Finland, by about 100,000 people. Ithas an Ausbau
linguistic relationship with Finnish, and has been considered by some people at some times to be a dialect of Finnish.
Kashubian A language which is spoken by a small linguistic
minority of a few thousand people on the North Slavic
dialect continuum, in a small area of northern Poland to
the west of Gdansk (Danzig) and Gdynia. As a language
with an Ausbau relationship with the national language
Polish, it has not always been recognised as a language in
its own right as opposed to a dialect of Polish.
kernel area see focal area
kinship terminology Terms used to label the family relationships in human society. All human societies have the same
family relationships, contracted through birth and marriage, in common. Different societies, however, group
these relationships together and label them in linguistically different ways. The study of the words used to label
such relationships in different societies is thus of both
semantic and anthropological interest. English-speaking
people do not distinguish linguistically between uncle
‘father’s brother’,
husband’ and ‘mother’s sister’s husband’. Certain other
languages do distinguish between all or some of these
different relationships, and/or group them together with
other relationships which in English are separate from
uncle: ‘father’ and ‘father’s brother’ may share the same
term, for instance. The assumption is that this differential
linguistic labelling reflects differences in the structures of
different societies and in the roles and behaviour which
are expected of individuals having particular relationships
with one another.
Kituba A creole based on the Bantu language Kikongo as
lexifier, widely spoken in the Democratic Republic of
Congo, where it also has a role as a lingua franca. It
provides a useful counterexample to the erroneous notion
that all creoles have European languages as lexifiers.
Kloss, Heinz see Abstand language, Ausbau language
Knudsen, Knud see Bokmal
koiné A linguistic variety which has grown up ina dialect contact
situation as a result of koinéisation. The process of koinéisation consists of dialect mixture together with or followed by
the processes of levelling and simplification. The word
‘koiné’ is the Ancient Greek word for ‘common’. Urban
dialects are often koinés based on a mixture of original rural
dialects. Standard languages may also be varieties that have
undergone certain amounts of koinéisation.
koinéisation see koiné, simplification, traditional dialect
Krio A creole language with English as its lexifier spoken natively in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone, West Africa,
by about halfa million people, and by several million secondlanguage users in the country as a whole as a lingua franca.
People who have Krio as their native language are mostly
descended from slaves who were repatriated from Jamaica
and elsewhere in the Western Hemisphere, and the language
bears a number of similarities to Jamaican Creole.
Kriol A creole language with English as its lexifier spoken
natively in Australia by about 10,000 aboriginal people in
northern areas of Western Australia, Northern Territory
and Queensland, and by even more second-language
speakers. The name Bamyili Creole is sometimes used
to refer to certain dialects. Here is a version of the Lord’s
Prayer in Kriol (note that melabat translates as ‘we’):
Dedi langa hebin, yu neim im brabli haibala,
en melabat nomo wandim enibodi garra yusum yu neim
_ Melabat wandim yu garra kaman en jidan bos langa
Melabat askim yu blanga gibit melabat daga blanga
dagat tudei.
Melabat bin larramgo fri detlot pipul hubin dumbat
nogudbala ting langa melabat,
en melabat askim yu blanga larramgo melabat fri du.
Melabat askim yu nomo blanga larram enijing
testimbat melabat brabli adbalawei.
Kupwar A village in India situated at the point where the
Dravidian and the Indo-European language families meet.
The two languages of the area are Kannada (Dravidian)
and Marathi (Indo-European). Research by John Gumperz showed that centuries of intense language contact
between the two languages has led to considerable linguistic convergence, with the two languages as spoken in
the village having common sentence structures, wordstructures and sound structures, and now differing mainly
in vocabulary.
Kweyol A name used to refer to the French-lexifier creole
varieties spoken in the Caribbean area, and particularly to
the Lesser Antillean French Creoles of St Lucia, Dominica,
Grenada, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Trinidad and
Labov, William see actuation problem, African American
Vernacular English, Ann Arbor case, apparent-time studies, curvilinear principle, Labov-hypercorrection, Labovian sociolinguistics, linguistic gratuity, Lower East Side,
Martha’s Vineyard, principle of accountability.
Laboy-hypercorrection A secular linguistic term associated
with the embedding problem in which style stratification
of markers is such that (usually) the second highest status
group in a speech community uses higher-status variants
in formal styles more frequently than the highest status
group. This linguistic behaviour can be interpreted as
being the result of linguistic insecurity. Labov-hypercorrection should be distinguished from hypercorrection,
which is a feature of the speech of individuals. Labovhypercorrection is a term which is due to the British
linguist J. C. Wells, who suggested that it was necessary
to distinguish terminologically between individual hypercorrection and group hypercorrection of the type first
described by William Labov in his research in New York
Labovian sociolinguistics Another term for secular linguistics.
The American linguist William Labov is the leading figure
in this field and pioneered work of this type, notably in his
1966 publication The social stratification of English in
New York City.
Ladin A Rhaeto-Romance language, related to Romansh and
Friuian, from the West Romance dialect continuum, spoken by a linguistic minority of about 30,000 people in the
Dolomite area of northern Italy.
Ladino A language, also known as Judaeo-Spanish (in Spanish judeoespanol) which is spoken by the descendants of
Jewish people who were expelled from Spain in 1492 and
Portugal in 1497. Many of these Jews fled to the Ottoman
Empire, and until the Second World War the language
was widely spoken in urban areas of the Balkans, such as
Thessaloniki (Greece), Sarajevo (Bosnia), Bucarest (Romania) and Sofia (Bulgaria). Most of these communities
were exterminated by the Nazis, however, with the result
that the language survived strongly only in Turkey, no-
tably in Istanbul. It was also spoken in North Africa, from
which it has now mostly disappeared. Ladino is essentially
a form of Spanish, but with some archaisms and independent innovations, and, as with Yiddish, Jewish cultural and religious vocabulary derived from Hebrew, plus
many borrowings from Greek and Turkish (or, in North
Africa, French and Arabic). The language is still spoken in
Istanbul, Israel, the USA, and elsewhere, but does not
appear to have much ethnolinguistic vitality. It has been
written both in the Hebrew and in the Latin alphabet.
Lallans A name, meaning ‘Lowlands’, often used to refer to
literary varieties of Scots.
lame A term introduced into sociolinguistics from African
American Vernacular English by William Labov, and
now used as a technical term to describe individuals
who are ‘outsiders’ or only peripheral members of a
particular social network or peer group. It is believed
that the linguistic behaviour of lames is less regular,
because it is less subject to focusing (see focused) than
that of core members of a group. Labov also points out
that academic linguists typically are — or have become —
lames, and that their intuitions about their own original
dialects may therefore be somewhat unreliable.
Landsmal see Nynorsk
language Not only a linguistic, but also a political, cultural,
social and historical term. An Ausbau-type language is a
collection of linguistic varieties which consists of an
autonomous variety, together with all the varieties that
are heteronomous (dependent) on it. Whether or not a
group of varieties form an Ausbau type of language will be
doubtful, or impossible to determine, where none of the
varieties is autonomous. This will also be difficult in
situations where the nature or direction of heteronomy
is a matter of political or cultural dispute. There are thus
disagreements as to whether Serbo-Croat is one or two
languages (see polycentric standard); whether Macedonian is a language in its own right or a dialect of Bulgarian; whether Sami (Lappish) is one language or six, and so
on. Abstand-type languages can be considered languages
for purely linguistic reasons.
language attitudes The attitudes which people have towards
different languages, dialects, accents and their speakers.
Such attitudes may range from very favourable to very
unfavourable, and may be manifested in subjective judge-
ments about the ‘correctness’, worth and aesthetic qualities of varieties, as well as about the personal qualities of
their speakers. Linguistics has shown that such attitudes
have no linguistic basis. Sociolinguistics notes that such
attitudes are social in origin, but that they may have
important effects on language behaviour, being involved
in acts of identity, and on linguistic change (see linguistic
insecurity). Language attitudes is one of the most important topics in the social psychology of language.
language conflict In multilingual situations, social strife and
other problems which arise where the needs or rights or
wishes of different groups speaking different languages
conflict. The term is more especially applied to disagreements that are specifically to do with language, such as
which language is to be the official language in a particular
area; which language children are to receive their education
in; and which language is to be used in the courts. Belgium
has a history of language conflict, with disagreements
concerning language-use rights between its Dutch-, Frenchand German-speaking populations flaring up from time to
time. Language planning activities are often directed at
solving problems arising out of language conflict.
language contact A term used to apply to situations where
two or more groups of speakers who do not have a native
language in common are in social contact with one another or come into such contact. Communication between
the groups may be difficult in the short term, and may in
the long term lead to the different languages influencing
one another, as a result of bilingualism on the part of
(some of) the speakers involved. Language contact may
lead to or involve phenomena such as borrowing, codeswitching, language shift, lingua francas, multilingualism
and pidginisation. See also dialect contact.
language cultivation A term often used to translate Scandi-
navian sprakvard. Its meaning is roughly equivalent to
language development or corpus planning, but it is also
concerned, as they are not, with notions such as correctness and literary style.
language death In situations of multilingualism and language
contact, language shift may take place, particularly on the
part of linguistic minority groups. If the entire community
shifts totally to a new language, the original language will
eventually have no speakers left in the community in
question, and the end point of the process of language
shift will be language death. Some writers distinguish
between situations of language loss, where total shift
occurs in only one of the communities speaking the
language, such as the loss of Dutch in immigrant communities in Australia; and language death, which is the
total loss of a language from the world, when all the
speakers of a language shift, as with the loss of Manx on
the Isle of Man. We can also distinguish language murder,
when a language dies out as a result of genocide, as in the
case of Tasmanian. See also language endangerment.
language deficit see verbal deprivation
language determination A term from language planning not
significantly different in its usage from status planning.
language development In language planning, language development consists of the processes of graphisation, standardisation and intellectualisation. See also corpus
language endangerment A situation in which a language is in
danger of undergoing language death.
language intertwining A term developed by the Dutch linguist
Peter Bakker to refer to a rare type of language which
results from very intense and intimate contact between
two languages, resulting in a mixture of both languages in
about equal proportions. Examples of such languages are
Copper Island Aleut and Michif.
language loss see language death
language loyalty Positive language attitudes towards
native language which lead individuals and communities
to keep on speaking this language and to pass it on to their
children, thereby achieving language maintenance rather
than language shift.
language maintenance The opposite of language shift and
language death. Where language maintenance occurs, a
community of speakers continues speaking its original
language, rather than shifting to some other language.
The term is used most frequently of linguistic minority
communities, since these are most likely to experience
language shift. Many minority language communities
attempt to secure language maintenance through various
language planning activities, such as obtaining a role for
the minority language in education.
language missionary A person who has a much greater role in
influencing the course of linguistic change in a community
than one would normally expect to be the case for a
particular individual. Such individuals will usually be
people who for some reason are respected and accepted
as insiders by members of the community, but who differ
from the other members of the community in their linguistic characteristics. The term was originally used by the
Norwegian dialectologist Anders Steinsholt, but is now
used by scholars working on the diffusion of linguistic
changes in many parts of the world. Steinsholt described
the strong linguistic influence exerted on a southern
Norwegian rural community by small numbers of local
men who had been away from the community on whaling
expeditions and who later returned, bringing with them
new non-local dialect forms they had acquired from other
language murder see language death
language myths Things which are widely believed by nonlinguists to be true about language or languages but which
are actually not, such as the widespread belief that some
languages are more ‘primitive’ than others, or that language change ought to be, and can be, stopped. See also
folk linguistics.
language planning Activities carried out by governmental,
official or other influential bodies that are aimed at
establishing which language varieties are used in a particular community, and subsequently at directing or influencing which language varieties are to be used for which
purposes in that particular community, and what the
linguistic characteristics of those varieties are to be. Language planning is normally undertaken in order to im-
prove communications and education, and/or influence
nationism and/or achieve language maintenance. Language planning can be divided into two main types of
activity, often labelled respectively language determination or status planning, and language development or
corpus planning. See also language cultivation.
language revitalisation see language revival
language revival If, as a result of the process of language shift,
a language is in danger of language death, attempts can be
made to reverse this process. Such attempts can be called
‘reversing language shift’ and are carried out by means of
language revitalisation programmes. The term language
revival is most often used to refer to attempts to reverse
language shift when it is already complete, that is, when
the language is dead, or almost so. The best known and
perhaps only successful example of language revival is
provided by the case of Hebrew, which was for many
centuries a classical liturgical language with no native
speakers but which is now the native language of several
million people in Israel.
language shift The opposite of language maintenance. The
process whereby a community (often a linguistic minority)
gradually abandons its original language and, via a (sometimes lengthy) stage of bilingualism, shifts to another
language. For example, between the seventeenth and
twentieth centuries, Ireland shifted from being almost
entirely Irish-speaking to being almost entirely English-
speaking. Shift most often takes place gradually, and
domain by domain, with the original language being
retained longest in informal family-type contexts. The
ultimate end-point of language shift is language death.
The process of language shift may be accompanied by
certain interesting linguistic developments such as reduction and simplification.
language use see elaborated code, restricted code
Lappish see Sami
Latino A term used by Americans to refer to hispanophone
people living in the USA. The feminine form is Latina.
lect Another term for variety or ‘kind of language’ which is
neutral with respect to whether the variety is a sociolect or
a (geographical) dialect. The term was coined by the
American linguist Charles-James Bailey who, as part of
his work in variation theory, has been particularly interested in the arrangement of lects in implicational tables,
and the diffusion of linguistic changes from one linguistic
environment to another and one lect to another. He has
also been particularly concerned to define lects in terms of
their linguistic characteristics rather than their geographical or social origins.
Le Page, Robert see acts of identity, diffuse, diffusion, focused
levelling One of the linguistic processes which may take place
in a situation of dialect mixture and which can lead,
together with simplification, to the development of a
koiné. Levelling refers to the process whereby the number
of variant pronunciations, words or grammatical forms
that are present in the dialect mixture are reduced as a
result of focusing (see focused), to a smaller number of
variants, usually one. Levelling usually consists of getting
rid of forms which are used by only a minority of speakers
or are in some other way unusual.
lexical set A set of lexical items — words — which have something in common. In discussions of English accents, this
‘something’ will most usually be a vowel, or a vowel in a
certain phonological context. We may therefore talk
about the English ‘lexical,set of bath’, meaning words
such as bath, path, pass, last, laugh, daft where an original
short a occurs before a front voiceless fricative /f/, /O/ or /s/.
The point of talking about this lexical set, rather than a
particular vowel, is that in different accents of English
these words have different vowels: /z/ in the north of
England and most of North America, /a:/ in the south of
England, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
lexifier In the study of pidgin and creole languages, the
language from which most of the vocabulary has been
taken. In English-based Creoles, such as Krio and Sranan,
there are more words that have come from English than
from any other language. See also source language.
Lingua Franca A Romance-based pidgin, with Provencal and
Italian as the main lexifiers, but also derived, in some
areas more than others, from Portuguese, Spanish,
French, Catalan and Ladino. Now extinct, but formerly
spoken in coastal areas of the Mediterranean, including
especially North Africa, the Levant and the Greek islands,
as a trading lingua franca. Also known as ‘Sabir’. It is
thought by many to have been the source of Polari. Some
scholars who favour the monogenesis theory of pidgin
and creole origins have suggested that the Lingua Franca
was the original pidgin from which all others are derived.
The term means ‘Frankish language’, with ‘Frank’ being a
label often used by the Orthodox Christian people of the
eastern Mediterranean to refer to Catholics from the west,
particularly if Romance-language speaking.
lingua franca A language which is used in communication
between speakers who have no native language in com-
mon. For example, if English is used in communication
between native speakers of Swedish and Dutch, then it is
functioning as a lingua franca. Lingua francas which are
used in a large-scale institutionalised way in different
parts of the world include Swahili in East Africa and
French and English in West Africa. A pidgin language is a
particular form of lingua franca. The term is derived from
the Mediterranean lingua franca, Lingua Franca.
linguistic area A geographical area, also known by the German term Sprachbund, in which long-term language
contact has given rise to a large number of similarities
between languages, even in cases where they are not
historically closely related. The best-known linguistic area
in Europe is the Balkans, where, amongst a number of
other similarities, Albanian, Romanian, Macedonian and
Bulgarian all have definite articles that are placed after the
noun, unlike languages in neighbouring areas or other
languages with which they are more closely related. See
also substratum.
linguistic atlas A book consisting of dialect maps of a particular area, often showing isoglosses.
linguistic community see speech community
- linguistic gratuity, principle of The principle, adumbrated by
Walt Wolfram, that linguists who have obtained linguistic
data from members of a speech community should actively
pursue ways in which they can return linguistic favours to
that community. This is very close to William Labov’s
‘Principle of the debt incurred’, which states that a linguist
who has obtained linguistic data from members of a speech
community has an obligation to use the knowledge based
on that data for the benefit of the community, when that
community has need of it. This principle was seen at work
in the operation of the Ann Arbor case.
linguistic insecurity A set of language attitudes in which
speakers have negative feelings about their native variety,
or certain aspects of it, and feel insecure about its value or
‘correctness’. This insecurity may lead them to attempt to
accommodate to or acquire higher status speech forms,
and may lead to hypercorrection on the part of individuals
and Labov-hypercorrection on the part of social groups.
Labov has suggested that it is normally the second-highest
status-group in a society that is most prone to linguistic
linguistic market A translation of the French term marché
linguistique due to Pierre Bourdieu and employed in
Canadian sociolinguistic research by Sankoff and Laberge. They argue that it is possible to account for much
sociolinguistic variability in language use in terms of the
extent to which speakers’ economic activity requires them
to be able to use standard or other prestigious forms of
language. They suggest that this may be a more important
factor in determining linguistic behaviour than speakers’
social class or social status background. Thus a workingclass hotel receptionist may speak a sociolect not normally
thought of as being typical of working-class speakers.
linguistic minority A social group within a nation-state or
other organisational unit whose native language is different from the language which is spoken natively by the
largest number of people in that state or unit. Thus Welsh
speakers constitute a linguistic minority in Britain, Dutch
speakers a linguistic minority in France and Albanian
speakers a linguistic minority in Greece. Some languages
can be both majority languages (like German in Germany
and Austria) and minority languages (like German in
France and Romania). Other languages may be minority
languages everywhere they are spoken, such as Sami
(Lappish) in Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Soviet
Union. See exogenous minority language, endogenous
minority language.
linguistic relativity see Sapir-Whorf hypothesis
linguistic variable A linguistic unit, sometimes known as a
sociolinguistic variable, initially developed by Labov in
connection with his work in secular linguistics and
variation theory, in order to be able to handle linguistic
variation. Variables may
be lexical and grammatical,
but are most often phonological. A phonological variable may be more or less than a phoneme, but will be
associated with a particular lexical set or group of
words in which phonetic variation has been observed
to occur, where that variation can be related to social
variables or to other linguistic variables. A linguistic
variable in many forms of British English is (h) — it is
usual to symbolise linguistic variables by the use of
parentheses — which stands for the presence or absence
of /h/ in words such as hammer, house and hill. Many
speakers will sometimes pronounce /h/ in words of this
type and sometimes not, whereas other speakers will
always pronounce it — its presence is variable. The
variable (h) does not refer to /h/ at the beginning of
unstressed words such as have, has, his, him, her, since
no speaker has an /h/ in these words unless they are
stressed. The variable (h) is thus said to have two
variants, /h/ and ©.
linguistic variation and change Linguistic research which is
based on empirical work in secular linguistics and which
is concerned to apply the data obtained in such studies to
the solution of problems of linguistic theory, such as how
and why language changes, and what is the cognitive status
of linguistic variability. Work on polylectal grammars and
variable rules are examples of,research in variation theory.
The distinction between secular linguistics and variation
theory is not a particularly clear or very important one.
linking /r/ see intrusive /r/
loan word see borrowing
location see domain
locutionary act see speech act theory
loss of face see face
Low German A language of the West Germanic dialect continuum which is spoken in the northern part of Germany,
also known as Plattdeutsch. It is today often considered to
be a dialect of German, but it does have history of being
used, particularly in the late medieval and early modern
period under the Hanseatic League, as a standardised
language of communication not. only in Germany but
also in Scandinavia and around the Baltic sea (that is,
it had autonomy). Some idea of the nature of differences
between Low German and German can be obtained from
the following short list:
Low German
Low variety see diglossia
Lower East Side The area of Manhattan, New York City,
where William Labov carried out the fieldwork for the
research which was reported on in his groundbreaking
1966 book The social stratification of English in New
York City.
lusophone Portuguese-speaking
Luxemburgish A language, until quite recently widely considered to be a dialect of German, which is spoken by
about 250,000 native speakers in Luxembourg
and a
small neighbouring area around Arlon in Belgium. Also
called Letzeburgisch. German is still the language most
often used in writing in Luxembourg, but there is some
literary activity in Luxemburgish. There is also an im-
portant presence of Luxemburgish in primary education,
government and the media.
]-vocalisation A sound change in which the consonant /I/ turns
into a high or mid vowel. In English a number of accents
have undergone vocalisation of /l/ in words such as hill
and milk. In Cockney, for example, milk is pronounced
macrosociolinguistics A term sometimes used to cover secular
linguistics, the sociology of language and other areas
involving the study of relatively large groups of speakers.
Compare microsociolinguistics.
marché linguistique see linguistic market
marker In Labovian secular linguistics, a linguistic variable
which shows social stratification and style stratification.
In investigations of the embedding problem associated
with linguistic change, markers represent an intermediate
stage in the development of linguistic variables, having
developed out of indicators, and having the potential to
become stereotypes. Markers are typically involved in
change from below.
Martha’s Vineyard An island off the coast of Massachusetts,
USA, which was the site of the first ever study, by William
Labovy, in the paradigm that is now referred to as linguistic
variation and change. This was reported on in his 1963
paper ‘The social motivation of a sound change’. This can
most easily be read in Labov’s 1972 book Sociolinguistic
matched-guise technique A technique used in work in the
social psychology of language in order to investigate
language attitudes. The technique involves playing record-
ings of different speakers reading aloud the same passage
of prose but using different accents, dialects or languages.
Subjects are asked to listen to the recordings and to
evaluate the speakers as best they can by listening to their
voices on parameters such as friendly-unfriendly, intelligent-unintelligent,
and so on. The
technique is called ‘matched guise’ because two of the
speakers listened to by the subjects are, unbeknown to
them, actually the same person, appearing in two different
guises, that is using two different varieties of language.
The assumption then is that, if subjects evaluate this
speaker differently in his or her two different guises,
the difference in the evaluation cannot be due to the
speaker, or to his or her voice itself, but to reactions to
his or her accent, dialect or language. Work by the British
social psychologist Howard Giles has found that a person
speaking in an RP accent is evaluated as being more
intelligent but less friendly than that same person speaking
in a local accent. See also subjective reaction test.
maxims of conversation
see conversational maxims
merger A sound change in which two forms, usually vowels or
consonants, collapse into one. For example, the vowel of
English see, meet, teem used to be distinct from the vowel
of sea, meat, team, but now they have become merged.
mesolect In a social dialect continuum, the lect or lects which
have a social status intermediate between the acrolect and
the basilect. In the Jamaican post-creole continuum, the
mesolects are the varieties which are linguistically and
socially ranged on the continuum between the Standard
English acrolect and the Jamaican creole basilect.
Métis see Michif
Michif A remarkable language which is the result of language
intertwining. It is historically a mixture of French and the
North American Algonquian language Cree, in which the
verbs are mainly Cree and the nouns and adjectives and
articles are mainly French. The name of the language comes
from the French word métis, which means ‘of mixed race’,
and indeed the speakers of Michif are an ethnic group
descended for the most part from Cree women and
French-Canadian men. This ethnic group, and the language,
developed in Canada, but as a result of nineteenth-century
conflicts between the Michif and the Canadian government,
most of the few hundred speakers now live in North Dakota,
USA. Younger people are said no longer to be learning it.
microsociolinguistics A term sometimes used to cover the
study of face-to-face interaction, discourse analysis, con-
versation analysis, and other areas of sociolinguistics
involving the study of relatively small groups of speakers.
Compare macrosociolinguistics.
Mid-Atlantic States A term often encountered in American
dialectology. The States on the eastern seaboard of the
USA which lie between New England and the South,
namely New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware,
Maryland and, in some usages, Virginia. It also includes
Washington DC.
Midland dialect The English dialect area in the USA which lies
between the Northern and Southern dialect areas. In the
east, the area includes southern New Jersey, central and
southern Pennsylvania, northern Delaware and Maryland, West Virginia, western Virginia, and central and
southern Ohio. Some American dialectologists dispute
that there is any such area, preferring to see it as divided
between the Lower North and the Upper South.
Midwest, The A geographical term used in American English
dialectology to refer to the area immediately to the west of
New England and the Mid-Atlantic States and to the
north of The South. It is often considered to consist of
the following states: Illinois, Indiana, lowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota,
South Dakota, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Milroy, James see Belfast, network strength, social network
Milroy, Lesley see Belfast, network strength, social network
Milton Keynes A new town in England which has been the site
of a major study by Paul Kerswill into dialect mixture and
the formation of a new dialect.
minority language see linguistic minority
Miskito Coast The Miskito Coast is the Caribbean coastal area
of Nicaragua and Honduras consisting of a lowland strip
about 210 miles long. The British founded the principal
Miskito coast city of Bluefields (Nicaragua) and there are
about 30,000 native speakers of English in this area who
look to Bluefields as their centre. Most of them are of
African origin. English is also spoken in many different
locations on the Caribbean coast of the Miskito Coast
mainland of Honduras. See Central American English.
Mitchif see Michif
modernisation see intellectualisation
‘monogenesis A term associated with the study of the world’s
creole languages and their history. Creole languages have
many linguistic features in common. This is particularly
true of the Atlantic creoles — those spoken on either side of
the Atlantic Ocean, such as Krio in Sierra Leone, Sranan
in Surinam, and Gullah in the United States. But it is also
true, importantly, not only of very many creoles of English
origin, but also of French-based creoles, such as Haitian
Creole, and of Portuguese-based creoles. One explanation
for these similarities is that the Atlantic creoles (at least)
are monogenetic. That is, they are similar because they
have a single common origin. They are all descended, this
explanation claims, from the same pidgin language which
was probably spoken in West Africa, where the original
creole arose as a result of the slave trade, and from where
it/they spread to many other parts of the world. Crucial to
the monogenesis hypothesis is the relexification hypothesis, which explains how English, French and Portuguese
creoles can all have the same origin. Like all theories of
creole origins, this hypothesis is controversial. The opposite of monogenesis is polygenesis.
monolingual see monolingualism
monolingualism The opposite of bilingualism and multilingualism. A sociolinguistic situation in which only one language is involved is said to be a monolingual situation. An
individual who can speak only one language is said to be
morphological transparency A term used to refer to the phenomenon whereby the meaning of a grammatical form is
apparent from the meaning of its component parts. Thus,
the English form went is not morphologically transparent,
but the equivalent Jamaican Creole form bin guo, literally
‘past + go’, is transparent. The term is often used in the
discussion of pidgin languages, where the phenomenon
occurs frequently.
mother-in-law language see avoidance language
mother tongue see native language
multilingualism The opposite of monolingualism. A sociolinguistic situation in which more than one language is
involved, usually involving also language contact and
individual bilingualism. Note that many sociolinguists
use the term ‘bilingualism’ to refer to individuals, even
if they are trilingual, quadrilingual etc. and reserve the
term ‘multilingualism’ for nations or societies, even if only
two languages are involved.
multiple negation A feature of the grammatical structure of
most dialects of English which is, however, not found in
Standard English. In sentences such as I can’t find none
nowhere and I don’t never do nothing, more than one —
or multiple — negative forms occur, whereas the equivalent sentences in the Standard English variety contain
only one negative form each: I can’t find any anywhere
and I don’t ever do anything. Multiple negation formerly
occurred in all varieties of English, but has been lost from
Standard English during the last 300 years or so. Multiple
negation is widely regarded as being ‘incorrect’, but this
evaluation is simply due to the fact that it is a feature of
lower status sociolects. It is a feature of the standard
dialects of very many other languages, including French
and Russian. Another name for multiple negation is
negative concord, and it is also often called the double
multiplex see network strength
see traditional dialect
mutual intelligibility The extent to which speakers of one
variety are able to understand speakers of another variety.
Mutual intelligibility may be a matter of degree — Swedish
speakers can understand Norwegian more readily than
they can Danish. Note too that the degree of intelligibility
may not be entirely mutual - speakers of variety A may be
able to understand speakers of variety B more easily than
vice versa. And mutual intelligibility can also be acquired
— speakers can learn to understand a variety which they
initially had considerable difficulty with.
national language A language which functions as the main
language of a nation state.
nationalism Feelings and sentiments relating to nationality.
Nationalism is distinct from — and may in certain situa-
tions be in conflict with — practical issues concerning
nationism. In a multilingual society such as India, nation-
ism might suggest that a non-indigenous language such as
English might be the best choice as the official language,
while sentiments of nationalism might favour indigenous
languages such as Hindi and Tamil.
nationality According to the American sociologist of language
Joshua Fishman, a large-scale sociocultural group of
people who feel themselves to be a social group distinct
from other social groups. Nationality implies also that the
group in question operates on a more than purely local
scale. Nationality and ethnic group are not distinguished
by all writers on language planning and multilingualism.
nationism A term used in discussions of language planning
and multilingualism. According to Joshua Fishman, a
nation is a political and territorial unit which is largely
under the control of a particular nationality. Nationism,
then, is a concept which has to do with the problems of
administering such a political and territorial unit.
native language see first language
native speaker A speaker who has a language as their first
Ndjuka An English-based creole language i.e. a creole with
English as its main lexifier, spoken in the interior of
Surinam by about 15,000 people, with a small number
of speakers over the border in Guyane. The language
dates from about 1730 and is spoken by the descendants
of escaped African slaves who maintain a culture which
is in many respects a mixture of West African and
Amerindian traditions. Ndjuka is a ‘deep’ creole i.e.
because the official colonial language of the country
was Dutch, Ndjuka has been little influenced by English
and, unlike in the case of Jamaican Creole, no postcreole continuum has developed. See also Sranan.
negation see multiple negation
negative concord see multiple negation
negative face see negative politeness, positive politeness
negative politeness A concept derived from the sociolinguistic work of Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson on
politeness. In this approach, politeness is concerned with
the actions people perform to maintain their face and
that of the other people who they are interacting with.
Positive face has to do with presenting a good image of
oneself and securing the approval of others. Negative
face has to do with maintaining one’s freedom of action
and freedom of imposition by others. Negative polite-
ness consists of acts which are designed to preserve or
restore the hearer’s negative face, by expressing the
speaker’s reluctance to impose his or her wants on
the hearer, and/or by acknowledging the social distance
between the speaker and the hearer. One way of doing
this would be to say something like I don’t like to bother
you, but...
neighbour opposition see hyperdialectism
network strength A concept originally employed in linguistics
by the British sociolinguists James Milroy and Lesley
Milroy in their research in Belfast. The strength of a
social network depends on the degree to which it is dense
and multiplex. The density of a social network depends on
the degree to which the people who form the social
network all know each other. The multiplexity of a social
network depends on the extent to which individuals are
bound to one another by more than one relationship, for
example, two people might be cousins and friends and
New England A geographical term used in American English
dialectology to refer to the northeastern states: Maine,
Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut,
Rhode Island.
non-prevocalic /r/ The consonant /r/ in English where it occurs
before a consonant, as in start, or before a pause, as in
star, rather than before a vowel, as in starry. ‘Non-prevocalic’ means
‘not before a vowel’. Also known, less
accurately, as ‘postvocalic /r/. Accents of English differ as
to whether or not they have lost non-prevocalic /r/
through linguistic change over the past 300 years or so.
English accents which have retained the original pronunciation and have not lost non-prevocalic /r/ are known as
rhotic accents.
non-rhotic accents
see rhotic accents
nonstandard dialect In the case of languages which have
undergone standardisation, any dialect other than the
standard dialect or standardised variety. Such dialects
are normally heteronomous with respect to the standard
variety. Nonstandard varieties of English may be referred
to collectively by the label nonstandard English.
nonstandard English Any dialect of English other than Stan-
dard English. Nonstandard
dialects of English differ
from Standard English most importantly at the level
of grammar. Examples of widespread nonstandard
grammatical forms in English include multiple negation,
past tense done rather than did, and the use of ain’t
rather than standard isn’t, aren’t, haven’t and hasn’t.
One nonstandard dialect of English that has been ex-
tensively discussed in sociolinguistics is African American Vernacular English.
Nordberg, Bengt see Eskilstuna
Norfolk Island see Pitkern
NORM An acronym introduced by the Canadian linguist J.
K. Chambers to describe the sort of informants typically
sought after during their fieldwork by practitioners of
traditional dialectology. Traditional dialectologists have
often concentrated on ‘non-mobile older rural male’
speakers of the dialect under study because they have
believed that such speakers were the most likely to speak
the local traditional dialect in a ‘pure’ form, uninfluenced
by the standard or by other dialects.
normative see prescriptive
Northern Cities Shift A sound change currently under way in
urban areas of the north-central and north-eastern United
States, notably Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland,
Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse. In this area there is a
movement of the vowels of the lexical sets of DRESS, TRAP,
LOT, STRUT, THOUGHT as illustrated in the diagram. This has
the result that to people from other parts of the country,
rest sounds like rust, John sounds like Jan, cut sounds like
caught and caught sounds like cot.
The Northern Cities Shift area
Northern Cities Shift
North Slavic dialect continuum A dialect continuum comprising the dialects of the East Slavic languages Russian,
Ukrainian, and Belarusan, and the West Slavic languages
Polish, Kashubian, Slovak and Czech. The transitions
between Belarusan and Polish, Ukrainian and Polish, and
Ukrainian and Slovak involve rather large linguistic differences, but mutual intelligibility may still be achievable.
Czech ‘i
North Slavic dialect continuum
Nynorsk /ny:no:f{k/ One of the two officially recognised stan-
dard forms of Norwegian, the other being Bokmal. When
Norway gained independence from Denmark in the early
nineteenth century, it was felt by many that Danish should
be replaced as the official language by a standardised form
of the closely related Scandinavian language Norwegian.
There were two conflicting solutions to the problem of
devising a Norwegian standard. One, promoted by Ivar
Aasen (1813-96), was to devise a whole new standard
based on Norwegian dialects, particularly those of the
west of the country which were least like Danish (For the
other solution, see Bokmal.) As a result of Norwegian
governmental language planning policies, this form of
Norwegian has gradually been modified so that it is
now less different from Bokmal. Originally called Landsmal ‘language of the country’, it is now known as Nynorsk ‘new Norwegian’. See also Ausbau language.
Oakland A city in northern California with a large African
American population. It received considerable attention in
1996 when the school board passed a resolution instructing
that educators should recognise that African American
Vernacular English (referred to as ‘Ebonics’ by the board
and in the media coverage which followed) was a systema-
tic linguistic system which differed significantly from Standard English to the point of being a separate language, and
drawing parallels with bilingual education programmes.
Observer’s Paradox A term invented by the American linguist
William Labov to describe the major methodological
problem of secular linguistics. Secular linguistic research
is based on analyses of linguistic data as obtained from
people using a vernacular variety in a natural way in
everyday speech situations in the speech community.
However, observing and recording such speech is difficult
because as soon as people realise that their language is the
focus of attention, they will tend to speak in a less natural
and vernacular manner. The observer’s paradox is thus
that ‘what linguists want to do is to observe the way in
which people speak when they are not being observed’. A
number of different methodologies have been developed
to attempt to overcome this paradox (see participant
observation and rapid and anonymous interviews).
Occitan A language of the West Romance dialect continuum
which is spoken in the southern third of France (apart
from the Catalan and Basque-speaking areas), as well as
in Monaco and neighbouring areas of Italy. It is today
sometimes considered to be a dialect of French, but the
linguistic differences from French are considerable, and
Occitan does have a history of being used, particularly in
the late mediaval period -— often under the name of
Provencal - as a standardised literary language (i.e. it
had autonomy) and as an official language in the area.
It was revived as a literary language in the nineteenth
century. Today all speakers are bilingual with French, and
most speakers are found in rural areas. The main dialects
are Gascon, Limousin, Auvergnat, Languedocien and
Provengal. Some idea of the linguistic differences between
Occitan and French can be gained from this short list:
_ port
je chante. I sing
_ petite
cambiar changer
causa _ chose
official language A language or languages which by law must
or may be used in government, law, education and other
similar institutions in a particular country. Fewer than
100 of the world’s approximately 6,500 languages are
official languages.
onomastics The linguistic study of names, incuding place
names, hydronyms (the names of lakes and rivers), family
names (surnames), given names (‘first names’) and naming
practices (such as whether and how women change their
names at marriage).
optimal rules see variable rule
overcorrection see hypercorrection
overgeneralisation see hyperadaptation
overreporting A term used, in connection with self report
tests, to describe claims by respondents that they use
higher status or more standard linguistic forms than they
actually do use, thus revealing favourable attitudes to
such forms. In tests involving English speakers, female
respondents have been statistically more likely to report in
this way than male respondents.
Ozarks, The A hilly area of southern Missouri, northern
has been much studied by American dialectologists because of its traditional dialects.
Pakeha A Maori word referring to New Zealanders of European origin which often appears in sociolinguistic studies
comparing linguistic behaviour or characteristics of the
two major ethnic groups in New Zealand.
Palenquero A creole language with Spanish as the lexifier
spoken by about 2,000 speakers in the Palenque area
of Columbia, South America, inland from Cartagena.
Palmerston Island Palmerston English is spoken on Palmerston Island (Polynesian Avarau), a coral atoll in the Cook
Islands about 250 miles northwest of Rarotonga, by
descendants of Cook Island Maori and English speakers.
William Marsters, a ship’s carpenter and cooper from
Gloucestershire, England, came to uninhabited Palmerston Atoll in 1862. He had three wives, all from Penrhyn/
Tongareva in the Northern Cook Islands. He forced his
wives, seventeen children and numerous grandchildren to
use English all the time. Virtually the entire population of
the island today descends from the patriarch. Palmerston
English has some admixture from Polynesian but is probably best regarded as a dialectal variety of English rather
than a contact language.
pandialectal Found in all dialects of a particular language.
panlectal grammar see polylectal grammar
Papiamentu A creole language with Spanish and Portuguese
as the lexifiers. It is the majority language in the Netherlands Antilles islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao, off
the north coast of South America.
parole see langue and parole
participant see domain
participant observation An anthropological technique also
used for carrying out sociolinguistic research. In sociolinguistics, work of this type is designed to overcome the
observer’s paradox. The methodology involves the field-
worker becoming a member of the group under investigation, often over a considerable period of time, so that the
group can be investigated from the inside. Research on the
language used by the group can be carried out successfully
because informal and long-term observation by an insider
will not direct speakers’ attention to their speech to an
undue degree.
patois /‘patwa/ A non-technical term which has two rather
different meanings. Firstly, in many Caribbean communities, the local English or French-based creole language
may be referred to by its speakers as ‘patois’. Secondly,
traditional dialects of French are often referred to by
French speakers as ‘patois’. The term is also used by some
French and English speakers to refer to any language
which does not have a written form.
patwa see patois
peer group A sociological term referring to a group of people
that a person associates with and identifies with. Many of
the peer groups studied by sociolinguists consist of teen-
age gangs or friendship groups, but any peer group to
which speakers belong will be of importance for their
linguistic behaviour, as discussed in sociolinguistic theories concerning acts of identity and social networks.
are speakers who are peripheral members
particular peer group.
of a
perceptual dialectogy A branch of folk linguistics which
looks at where speakers believe dialects and dialect
to be, and at their attitudes to different
* New York City
+ Washington DC
Perceptual Dialectology map (from Dennis R. Preston (ed.), Handbook of
Perceptual Dialectology, John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam/Philadelphia 1999, p. 365)
performative An utterance in which a speech act is performed
by a speaker simply by means of saying that they are
performing it, for example ‘I name this ship . . .’, ‘I
baptise you .. .’, ‘I promise . . .’, ‘I apologise. . . ’
Verbs such as ‘name’, ‘baptise’, ‘promise’,‘ apologise’
are therefore known as performative verbs.
perlocutionary act see speech act theory
phatic communion The use of language to establish and
maintain good social relations without necessarily com-
municating any information, such as when British people
pass comments on the weather.
pidgin A variety of language without native speakers which
arises in a language contact situation of multilingualism,
and which operates as a lingua franca. Pidgins are languages which have been derived from a source language
through pidginisation. The degree of pidginisation is such
that mutual intelligibility with the source
language is
impossible or very difficult, and they have achieved a
stable form through the processes of focusing (see focused) and stabilisation. Many well-known pidgins are
derived from European source languages such as English
and Portuguese, but there are also many pidgin languages
which are derived from non-European sources. See also
jargon (1) and creole.
pidginisation The processes of admixture, reduction and simplification which are associated with all imperfect adult
second-language learning. Pidginisation normally leads to
the development of a jargon (1) or pre-pidgin only in
multilingual situations in which access to the source
language is minimal and where pidginisation is therefore
considerable. The jargon will develop into a pidgin only
where there is a prolonged need for a lingua franca and
where a stable social situation leads to focusing (see
focused) and stabilisation.
Pig Latin An American schoolchildrens’ antilanguage which
consists, in its most basic form, of disguising words by
taking the initial consonant or consonant cluster of a
word and putting it at the end of the same word followed
by the additional syllable /ei/ for example ookbay = book;
eetstray = street.
Pijin Originally an English-lexifier pidgin language, now also
a creole spoken by about 15,000 native speakers in the
Solomon Islands. It is also very widely used in the country
as a second language lingua franca by about 300,000
people. It is historically related to and rather similar to
Bislama and Tok Pisin.
Pitcairn see Pitkern
Pitkern The language spoken on the isolated British colony of
Pitcairn Island, about 2,000km south-east of Tahiti in the
Pacific Ocean. The population is currently about fifty.
They are descended from the mutineers on the HMS
Bounty and their Tahitian companions. After a stay on
Tahiti, the crew mutinied when their voyage to the West
Indies had reached only as far as western Polynesia, and
they set their captain William Bligh adrift. They returned
to Tahiti, where they collected a number of local women
and a few men, and, fearing discovery by the Royal Navy,
sailed to Pitcairn, arriving in 1790. There, in the interests
of secrecy, they burnt their ship. The island community
survived undiscovered until 1808. In 1856, because of
overpopulation, some of the islanders were removed to
Norfolk Island, where their descendants still live. The
language resembles an English-based creole and has many
features of Polynesian origin. It is probably best termed an
English-based creoloid or, because of the Polynesian
contribution, ‘dual source creoloid’.
Plattdeutsch see Low German
pluricentric language see polycentric language
Polari An antilanguage which is essentially a small amount of
vocabulary, used within an English context, which is
originally from Mediterranean Romance languages such
as Provengal, Catalan and Italian. It has been argued that
it is derived ultimately from the Lingua Franca. Some
words such as bevvy ‘drink’, lingo ‘language’, carsey
‘toilet’, manky ‘bad, poor, tasteless, unpleasant’, scarper
‘run away’ have made their way into general British
English slang. (Compare these words with the Italian
words bevanda ‘drink’, lingua ‘language’, casa ‘house’,
mancare ‘to lack’, scappare ‘escape’ — and the name of the
antilanguage itself with Italian parlare ‘speak’.) Other
words such as varda ‘look’ and lally ‘leg’ are or have
been associated with gayspeak.
polite forms see T and V pronouns
politeness see negative politeness, positive politeness
polycentric language A language in which autonomy is shared
by two or more (usually very similar) superposed vari-
eties. Examples include English (with American, English,
Scottish, Australian and other standard forms); Portuguese (with Brazilian and European Portuguese standard
variants); Serbo-Croat (with Serbian and Croatian var-
iants) and Norwegian (with Bokmal and Nynorsk). See
also Ausbau language.
polylectal grammar A notion associated particularly with the
work of the American linguist C. J. Bailey, who argued that
as speakers of a particular language are exposed, during
their lifetimes, to more and more dialects, varieties or lects
of that language, their increasing ability to comprehend
these lects is due to their internalised knowledge or grammar of that language becoming extended to include many
more lects than the one they actually speak. Linguists
wanting to describe or account for this knowledge should
therefore attempt to compose polylectal grammars which
would reflect this competence in more than one lect. A
polylectal grammar which incorporated all the varieties of
a language would be a panlectal grammar.
polygenesis see monogenesis
Poplack, Shana see Samana
popular etymology see folk etymology
positive face see negative politeness; positive politeness
positive politeness A concept derived from the sociolinguistic
work of Penelope Brown and Stephen Levinson on politeness. In this approach, politeness is concerned with the
actions people take to maintain their face and that of the
other people who they are interacting with. Positive face
has to do with presenting a good image of oneself and
securing the approval of others. Negative face has to do
with maintaining one’s freedom of action and freedom of
imposition by others. Positive politeness consists of acts
which are designed to preserve or restore the hearer’s
positive face, by stressing the speaker’s empathy with and
social closeness to the hearer. One linguistic way of doing
this would be to link the speaker and hearer together by
using the pronoun forms we, us and our.
popular etymology see folk etymology
post-creole continuum A social dialect continuum which results from language contact between a creole and its
original source language, and consequent partial decreo-
lisation of the creole: Acrolects towards the ‘top’ of the
continuum will have been decreolised in the direction of
the source language much more than basilects towards the
bottom, with intermediate mesolectal varieties having
undergone intermediate degrees of decreolisation.
post-pidgin A language variety which results from the partial
depidginisation of a pidgin language or jargon (1) caused
by language contact between it and its original source
postvocalic /r/ see non-prevocalic /r/
pragmatics A branch of linguistics which deals with the meaning of utterances as they occur in social contexts. Pragmatics is thus contrasted with semantics, which deals with
purely linguistic meaning, and has connections with discourse analysis, social context and the study of speech
pre-pidgin see jargon (1)
prescriptive Any set of beliefs about language which are based
on the notion of correctness can be said to be prescriptive.
The opposite of prescriptive is descriptive. For example,
linguists typically describe languages, not as they believe
they ought to be spoken, but as they are actually used by
their native speakers. Linguists thus produce not prescriptive grammars but descriptive grammars. Another word
for prescriptive is normative, since proponents of this
point of view believe that norms of ‘correct’ usage should
be adhered to. See also folk linguistics, language myth.
primary language A language which speakers use most often.
(Compare first language.)
principle of accountability see accountability
principle of linguistic gratuity see linguistic gratuity
principle of the debt incurred see linguistic gratuity
proscriptive see prescriptive
Provencal see Occitan
purification The process associated with decreolisation and
depidginisation in which the admixture which has taken
place during pidginisation is ‘repaired’ as a result of language contact between the creole or pidgin and the source
language. Purification thus takes the form of the exclusion
of forms originally from languages other than the source
language and their replacement by source language forms.
quantitative paradigm see secular linguistics
quantitative sociolinguistics see secular linguistics
rapid and anonymous interviews One of the fieldwork techniques of secular linguistics designed to overcome some of
the constraints of the observer’s paradox. In this techni-
que, the fieldworker conducts brief interviews in a public
place with a large number of people in such a way as to
obtain appropriate linguistic information from them without their realising that their language is being investigated
and without their being unduly inconvenienced. The most
famous series of such interviews was the one conducted by
William Labov in which he investigated the speech of shop
assistants in department stores in New York by asking
questions designed to produce the response ‘on the fourth
floor’, thus obtaining from the informants potential instances of nonprevocalic /r/.
real-time studies Studies of linguistic change which attempt to
investigate language changes as they happen, not in
apparent time by comparing the speech of older speakers
with that of younger speakers in a given community, but
in actual time, by investigating the speech of a particular
community and then returning a number of years later to
investigate how speech in this community has changed. In
secular linguistics, two different techniques have been
used in real-time studies. In the first, the same informants
are used in the follow-up study as in the first study. In the
second, different informants, who were too young to be
included in the first study or who were not then born, are
investigated in the follow-up study. One of the first
linguists to use this technique was Anders Steinsholt,
who carried out dialect research in the southern Norwe-
gian community of Hedrum, near Larvik, in the late
1930s, and then returned to carry out similar research
in the late 1960s.
Received Pronunciation
see RP
reduction A part of the pidginisation process which occurs in
language contact situations where imperfect adult secondlanguage learning takes place. Reduction — or impoverishment — refers to the process whereby large parts of the
source language that are available to native speakers are
lost or are not acquired by pidginising non-native speakers. Comparisons between a jargon (1) or a pidgin and the
source language will typically show that the source language has a larger vocabulary, and a larger repertoire of
styles, phonological units, syntactic devices and gramma-
tical categories. Reduction may be repaired by the process
of expansion if creolisation occurs.
reduplication A process often found in pidgin (and therefore
creole) languages — but also in very many other languages
— in which a form is repeated in order to signal some
particular semantic or grammatical category, including
plurals, iteratives (forms used to indicate repetition) and
augmentatives. For example, in Sranan bigi means ‘big’
while bigibigi means ‘very big’.
register A technical term from sociolinguistics and particularly associated with the work of Michael Halliday which
is used to describe a language variety that is associated
with a particular topic, subject or activity. In English,
registers are characterised for the most part by vocabulary, but grammatical features may also be involved. Any
activity may have a specific register associated with it,
whether it is football, biochemistry or flower-arranging.
Well-known technical registers include those of law and
medicine: the medical register uses forms such as patella,
to non-technical
kneecap, and clavicle,
corresponding to collar-bone. Registers can identify
speakers as being members of a particular peer group,
and are for that reason often labelled jargon (2) by out-
siders who are not part of the group in question.
relexification A hypothesis used as part of the monogenesis
theory of the origin of creole languages. This theory
argues that some or all of them are very similar in their
structures because some or all of them are descended from
the same original West African pidgin form of Portuguese.
In order to explain how Portuguese Pidgin could have
given rise to English- and French-based creoles, it is
necessary to invoke the hypothesis of relexification. This
holds that when speakers of the original Portuguese
Pidgin came into contact with, for example, native speakers of English, their language was relexified in the direction of English, that is the grammar and phonology of
their language remained the same, but the Portuguese
words were gradually replaced by words from English.
restricted code A concept developed by the British sociologist
Basil Bernstein in connection with his work on language
use, social class and socialisation. Restricted code, ori-
ginally called ‘private language’, is a form of language use
which, according to Bernstein, is characterised by a high
degree of inexplicitness and the taking of a fund of shared
knowledge between speaker and hearer for granted. It is
therefore not suitable for public use, Bernstein suggested,
in situations where participants do not have much knowledge or many assumptions in common. Restricted code is
thought of as lying at the opposite end of a continuum of
types of language use from elaborated code. Bernstein
argued that some working-class children in Britain were
disadvantaged in the education system because they were
able to use only restricted code. Restricted code has no
connection with nonstandard English or any other dia-
lect. It is concerned, as part of a theory of language use
and social structure, with the content of what speakers
reversing language shift see language revival
A group
of Ausbau
languages from the
West Romance dialect continuum. All of them are spoken
in close geographical proximity to Italian and they have
therefore sometimes been regarded, by some people, as
dialects of Italian. See Friulian, Ladin, Romansh.
Rhenish Fan In German dialectology, a well-known transition
zone in the Rhineland where the major north/south isogloss splits into a number of different isoglosses with a
fan-like configuration.
> O Aare
Rhenish Fan
rhotic accents Accents of English in which non-prevocalic /r/ is
pronounced, i.e. in which words like star have retained the
original pronunciation /star/ ‘starr’ rather than having the
newer pronunciation /sta:/‘stah’, where the /r/has been lost.
Rhotic accents of English include nearly all accents of
Scottish and Irish English, most accents of Canadian and
American English, accents from the south-west and northwest of England, some varieties of Caribbean English and a
small number of New Zealand accents. Non-rhotic accents
are those of Australia, South Africa, eastern and central
England, some parts of the Caribbean, and a number of
places on the eastern seaboard of the United States and
Canada, as well as African American Vernacular English.
rhyming slang An form of antilanguage, particularly associated
with the English of London, Glasgow and Australia. A word
is disguised by being replaced by a short phrase which
rhymes with it, and then all the words in this phrase except
the first are omitted. For example, butchers is a shortened
form of butcher’s hook which rhymes with look. So give usa
butchers means ‘let me have a look’. Whistle means ‘suit’,
being an abbreviated form of whistle and flute; apples, as a
shortened form of apples and pears, means ‘stairs’ and
barnet, which is short for Barnet Fair, means ‘hair’.
Riksmal see Bokmal
ritual insults see verbal duelling
Romansh A Rhaeto-Romance language from the West Romance dialect continuum spoken by a linguistic minority
of about 40,000 people in Switzerland and related to
Friulian and Ladin. All the speakers are bilingual in
Romansh and Swiss-German. The language is spoken
in a number of areas, some separated from one another
by German-speaking areas, of the canton of Graubtinden
(Romansh Grishun, Italian Grigioni, French Grisons) in
the south-eastern part of the country. Also spelt Romansch, Romantsch.
roofing see roofless dialects
roofless dialects A term used mainly by German sociolinguists
as a translation of German ‘dachlose Dialekte. Roofless
dialects are varieties which are not subject to Uberda-
chung or ‘roofing’. They are dialects which are linguistically heteronomous
with respect to some
standard variety, but which are socially and politically
outside that autonomous dialect’s sphere of influence. An
example of this is provided by the Alsatian dialects of
German which are linguistically heteronomous
spect to Standard German, but whose speakers,
they live in France, do not have full educational
access to Standard German. See also superposed
with rebecause
or other
RP Received Pronunciation. The regionless upper-class and
upper-middle-class accent of British - mainly English English which is associated with the BBC and is usually
taught to foreigners learning ‘British’ English. The label
‘received’ is here used in an old-fashioned sense of “being
accepted in the best social circles’. The unusual regionless
nature of the RP accent is probably the result of the unusual
upper-class British educational system of non-regional residential private schools, known as ‘public schools’. Only a
very small minority of the population of Britain- probably
three to five per cent — speak in this totally regionless way.
Russenorsk A pidgin language, derived from Russian and
Norwegian in about equal measure as lexifiers, spoken
until 1917 (when the Russian Revolution disrupted trade)
as a trading language in coastal northern Norway and
neighbouring coastal areas of Russia. Since there were
two main lexifiers, the language can be referred to as a
‘dual-source pidgin’. The pidgin also contained words
from English and other languages, for example:
Kak ju vil skaffom ja drikke te, davaj pa sjib tvoja ligge ne
jes pa slipom.
‘If you will eat and drink tea, please on ship your lie down
and on sleep’ i.e. ‘If you want to eat and drink tea, please
come on board your ship and lie down to sleep’
ju = you, jes = yes, slipom = sleep
Saami see Sami
Sabir see Lingua Franca
St Helena An English-speaking island in the South Atlantic
Ocean, 1,200 miles west of Africa. The population of this
British dependent territory is about 6,000. The island was
discovered in 1502 by the Portuguese and the English
learnt of it in 1588. It then became a port for ships
travelling between Europe and the East, and in 1659
the East India Company took possession. By 1673 nearly
half the inhabitants were imported slaves. Napoleon was
confined on the island from 1815 until his death in 1821.
The island’s population is largely of mixed British, Asian
and African descent. The English of St Helena is an
English-lexifier creoloid. It has a number of creole-like
features such as copula deletion, but is nevertheless obviously English.
Samana A peninsula in the northern Dominican Republic
which has a population of speakers of African American
Vernacular English. These are the descendants of exslaves who settled there in the 1820s and who came
mostly from New York and Philadelphia. Their English
has been investigated by the linguist Shana Poplack
Sami Also known as Saami and Lappish. A Finno-Ugric lan-
guage or languages related to Finnish, Karelian and Estonian
and, much
distantly, to Hungarian
Csango. It is spoken by the indigenous population of
northern Norway, Sweden and Finland and adjacent areas
of Russia. The bulk of the Sami people are in Norway. An
interesting Ausbau sociolinguistic question concerns how
many Sami languages there are, and what the divisions are.
The biggest Sami language or variety is Northern Sami,
which centres on Karasjok and Kautokeino in northern
Norway, and has about 25,000 speakers.
San Andrés and Providencia English-speaking islands about
110 miles off the coast of Nicaragua which are actually
part of Colombia. The islands were settled in 1629 by
English Puritans, and subsequently also by Jamaican
planters and their black slaves. See Central American
Sango A creole language, based on the Niger-Congo language
Ngbandi as the lexifier, which is spoken natively in the
Central African Republic and widely used in this and
neighbouring countries as a lingua franca.
Saramakkan A creole language spoken by about 25,000 people in the interior of Surinam. It is of particular interest in
that, while the main lexifier language is English, there has
also been considerable Portuguese input into the vocabulary.
Sapir-Whorf hypothesis A hypothesis associated with the
American scholars Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee
Whorf, also known as the linguistic relativity hypothesis.
The hypothesis suggests that people’s habitual thought
patterns and ways of perceiving the world are conditioned
to a certain extent by the categories and distinctions that
are available to them in their native language. Speakers of
different languages may therefore have rather different
world-views, depending on how different the languages
are from one another semantically and grammatically.
Scots The language, now often regarded as having a relation-
ship of heteronomy with English, which was formerly the
national language of Scotland. The dialect continuum on
which Scots was a superposed variety covers lowland
southern and eastern Scotland but not the Highlands
and Islands, which were until recently — and in some.
cases still are - Gaelic-speaking. These dialects are also
known as Scots. In modern times some autonomy from
English has been re-established, and many literary and
other works have been published in Scots. See also UlsterScots. The literary form of the Scots language is often
known as Lallans, and the Scots Language Society publishes a journal called Lallans of which it says:
For ane an twintie year Lallans, the magazine o the
Scots Leid Associe, haes featurt the bestest current
writin in Scots, baith in poetry an prose. Writers o
aa kynds haes kythed atween its batters. Thay’v shawn
the ongaun virr an vitality o Scots as a leevin tung.
Thare’s nae wallaein in auld lang syne. Lallans in its
editorial policy haes aye setten heich staundarts for
Scots writin.
Scouse A popular name for the dialect and accent of the town
of Liverpool, in northern England.
Sea Island Creole English see Gullah
secular linguistics A view of sociolinguistics as a methodology
—a way of doing linguistics — associated particularly with
the American linguist William Labov, and sometimes also
known as quantitative sociolinguistics or, less properly,
correlational sociolinguistics. Secular linguistics has as its
objective a series of goals which are no different from
those of any other sort of linguistics, but it works on the
assumption that linguistic hypotheses and theories should
be based on observations and analyses of vernacular
varieties as these are used by ordinary speakers (i.e. not by
linguists) in everyday social contexts. The research of
linguists working in their offices on their intuitions concerning their own dialect of their own language needs to
be supplemented and checked by work on (usually taperecorded samples of) real language in real contexts. One
of the particular concerns of secular linguistics is the
attempt to achieve an understanding of linguistic change,
and much work in this field is devoted to studying
linguistic changes in progress.
Séguy, Jean see dialectometry
self report tests Tests in which subjects are presented with a
number of variants of a linguistic variable and asked to
say which one of them they actually use in their own
speech. This very often results in providing information
about subjects’ attitudes to these variants rather than
about their actual usage. See overreporting, underreport-
Selinker, Larry see interlanguage
semantics see pragmatics
semantic transparency A term used to refer to the phenomenon whereby the meaning of a word is apparent from the
meaning of its component parts. Thus, the English word
dentist is not semantically transparent, whereas the Norwegian word tannlege, literally ‘tooth doctor’, is. The
term is often used in the discussion of pidgin languages,
the phenomenon
known example, Tok Pisin has hosman
and hosmeri ‘horse woman’
stallion and mare.
In a well-
‘horse man’
corresponding to English
semilingualism The discredited hypothesis that some children
growing up in a bilingual environment may fail to learn
either of the two languages fully, and may thus be ‘doubly
semilingual’. Very rarely, it can happen that in rather
special bilingual situations a new language may be formed
which is a mixture of the original two languages in
roughly equal proportions — see language intertwining
— but in this case the children who grow up speaking the
new language have a fully-fledged language at their disposal and can in no sense be said to be ‘semilingual’. See
also focused.
see Serbo-Croat
Serbo-Croat A polycentric standard language from the South
Slavic dialect continuum which was formally the major
official language of Yugoslavia. It is now often considered
to be three separate languages, although these are extremely similar and have total mutual intelligibility: Serbian
(in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia), Croatian (in Croatia
and Bosnia) and Bosnian (in Bosnia).
sex and language see genderlect
sharp stratification In Labovian secular linguistics, linguistic
variables are employed to investigate social stratification
and style stratification. This stratification can take the
form of fine stratification or ‘sharp stratification’. In
sharp stratification, the correlation between social or
stylistic factors and linguistic variables reveals a relatively uncontinuum-like situation, with sharp breaks in
linguistic behaviour, and thus in percentages of variants
of linguistic variables, between one social group or style
and another.
Shelta An antilanguage vocabulary used by Travellers (but
not by Romani) in Ireland and elsewhere in the British
Isles, notably the Scottish Highlands, also known as
‘Gammon’. It is derived for the most part from Irish
Gaelic and includes back slang and other deliberate disguising devices. The vocabulary can be used within the
context of either Gaelic or English grammar and phonology. Words which have passed from Shelta into English
slang include monicker ‘name’ from Shelta munnick from
Irish ainm; and gammy ‘bad’ from Shelta gyamyath from
Irish cam.
signifying A speech act associated with speakers of African
American Vernacular English in which criticism is directed at another person indirectly. See also indirectness,
speech act theory.
simplification A process involved in both pidginisation and
koinéisation, and occurring also in other forms of linguistic change. Simplification refers most importantly to
an increase in regularity in a language variety, for
example the regularisation of irregular verbs. It also
refers to phenomena such as the loss of grammatical
gender, the loss of case endings, and an increase in
semantic transparency, such as the replacement of optician by eye-doctor.
slang Vocabulary which is associated with very informal or
colloquial styles, such as English batty (mad) or ace
(excellent). Some items of slang, like ace, may be only
temporarily fashionable, and thus come to be associated
with particular age-groups
in a society.
words and phrases may stay in the language for generations. Formerly slang vocabulary can acquire more
formal stylistic status, such as modern French ¢éte (head)
from Latin testa (pot) and English bus, originally an
abbreviation of omnibus. Slang should not be confused
with non-standard dialect. (See also style.) Slang vocabulary in English has a number of different sources,
including Angloromani, Shelta and Yiddish, together
with devices such as rhyming slang and back slang as
well as abbreviation (as in bus) and metaphor, such as
hot meaning ‘stolen’ or ‘attractive’.
social class dialect see sociolect
social context The totality of features in a social situation,
involving location, participants and their relationships
with each other, which may influence speakers’ linguistic
behaviour and which may, for example, lead to style
shifting (see style). The ‘study of language in its social
context’ is another way of referring to secular linguistics.
The implication of this term is that it is important to study
language as it is used by ordinary people in ordinary social
situations, as well as or instead of the language of linguists, and language spoken in a laboratory. Secular
linguistic research is thus based on the observing and
recording of everyday speech rather than on the tapping
of the linguist’s intuitions about his or her own variety.
social dialect see sociolect
social dialect continuum
see dialect continuum, implicational
scale, implicational table
social dialectology see dialectology, secular linguistics, urban
social network An anthropological concept referring to the
multiple web of relationships an individual contracts in a
society with other people who he or she is bound to
directly or indirectly by ties of friendship, kinship or other
social relationships. This concept was introduced into
sociolinguistic research by the British sociolinguists James
Milroy and Lesley Milroy in connection with their research in Belfast. Lesley Milroy’s book Language and
social networks explains differential linguistic behaviour
on the part of different social groups in terms of their
different network structures and in particular in terms of
network strength. See also peer group.
social psychology of language An area of the study of the
relationship between language and society which examines language attitudes and looks at sociopsychological
aspects of language use in face-to-face interaction, such as
the extent to which speakers are able to manipulate
situations by code-switching. An important tool in research in the social psychology of language is the
matched-guise technique.
social stratification A term from sociology referring to a
model of society in which a society is divided or ordered
into horizontal ‘layers’ or ‘strata’, such as social classes or
status groups, where people in the ‘top’ layers have more
power, wealth and status than those in the ‘bottom’
layers. In secular linguistics, linguistic variables are said
to be subject to social stratification if they correlate in
some way with this social hierarchy. Social stratification is
contrasted in secular linguistics with style stratification.
See also fine stratification, sharp stratification.
sociolect A variety or lect which is thought of as being related
‘to its speakers’ social background rather than geographical background. A social class dialect is thus a form of
sociolect. See also acrolect, basilect and mesolect.
sociolinguistics A term used to describe all areas of the study
of the relationship between language and society other
than those which are purely social scientific in their
objectives, such as ethnomethodology. Sociolinguistic
research is thus work which is intended to achieve a
better understanding of the nature of human language by
studying language in its social context and/or to achieve
a better understanding of the nature of the relationship
and interaction
language and society. Socio-
linguistics includes anthropological linguistics, dialectology, discourse analysis, ethnography of speaking,
geolinguistics, language contact studies, secular linguistics, the social psychology of language and the sociology
of language.
sociolinguistic variable see linguistic variable
sociology of language A branch of sociolinguistics which
deals on a large or macrosociolinguistic scale with issues
relating to the relationship between sociological factors
and language, and in particular with issues relating to
language choice. It thus incorporates the study of topics
such as multilingualism, language planning,
maintenance and language shift.
sociophonetics The sociolinguistic study of phonetic features
and/or the use of phonetic techniques and expertise for
carrying out sociolinguistic work.
Solomon Islands Pidgin see Pijin
sounding A form of verbal duelling, involving the exchange of
ritual insults, associated with speakers of African American Vernacular English, especially young males.
source language In the study of pidgin and creole languages,
the language from which a pidgin or creole is said to have
derived, and which in particular has provided the bulk of
its vocabulary. An English-based pidgin is thus a creole
language which has resulted from large-scale pidginisation of English by non-native speakers in a language
contact situation, and the vocabulary of which is largely
English in origin. The source language is often also known
as the target language, but this is a less desirable term since
it implies that the speakers responsible for the pidginisa-
tion were actually attempting, unsuccessfully, to acquire
the source language as such, which may well not have
been the case.
South, The A geographical term used in American English
dialectology. Confusingly, it does not refer to the whole
of the southern United States but to the south-east. The
core of the area, sometimes called the Deep South, is
formed by the states of Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi,
Georgia and South Carolina, together with northern
Florida (paradoxically, most of Florida, the southernmost state, is not part of The South), with the rest of the
area being formed by North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kentucky, eastern Texas and West
South Slavic dialect continuum A dialect continuum comprising the dialects of the South Slavic languages Slovenian,
_ Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, Macedonian and Bulgarian.
The continuum ranges from eastern Italy and southern
Austria through Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina,
Yugoslavia (not including most of Kosovo), Macedonia
and Bulgaria to northern Greece. A small area of northern
Albania may also be included.
Sh Ae
\ Czech Republic 9 7%.
Se XN.
South Slavic dialect continuum
speech act A term used in discourse analysis, ethnography of
speaking and pragmatics for the minimal unit of analysis of
conversational interaction. A number of speech acts combine to form a speech event. Speech acts include greetings,
summonses, jokes, commands, apologies and introductions.
speech act theory A theory associated with the work of the
British philosopher J. L. Austin, in his 1962 book How to
do things with words, which distinguishes between three
facets of a speech act: the locutionary act, which has to do
with the simple act of a speaker saying something; the
illocutionary act, which has to do with the intention
behind a speaker’s saying something; and the perlocutionary act, which has to do with the actual effect produced by a speaker saying something. The illocutionary
force of a speech act is the effect which a speech act is
intended to have by the speaker.
speech community A community of speakers who share the
same verbal repertoire, and who also share the same
norms for linguistic behaviour, including both general
norms for language use of the type studied in the ethnography of speaking, and more detailed norms for activities
such as style shifting of the type studied by secular
linguistics. It is an important term in both the ethnogra-
phy of speaking and in secular linguistics.
speech event A higher level unit for the analysis of conversational interaction than the speech act. A speech event
consists of one or more speech acts. The term is used in
discourse analysis, ethnography of speaking and pragmatics. Examples of speech events include conversations,
lectures and prayers.
spelling pronunciation A phenomenon due to a combination
of literacy and linguistic insecurity in which the original
pronunciation of a word is replaced by a newer pronunciation which more closely resembles the spelling. Twentieth-century spelling pronunciations which are now
common in English include: often /oftn/, formerly /ofn/;
waistcoat /weistkout/, formerly /weskit/; and Ipswich
ipswitf/, formerly /ipsid3/.
Sprachbund see linguistic area
Sranan A creole language with English as the lexifier which
has more than 100,000 native speakers in coastal Surinam. The language is also known as ‘Sranan Tongo’ i.e.
‘Surinam tongue’. It is used as a lingua franca by those
members of the population of the country who do not
speak it natively. It is distinct from but with a number of
resemblances to Ndjuka. Sranan is a ‘deep’ creole, that is,
because the official colonial language of the country was
Dutch, Sranan has been little influenced by English and,
unlike in the case of Jamaican Creole, no post-creole
continuum has developed. It has, however, borrowed a
certain amount of lexis from Dutch. An idea of the
distance between Sranan and English can be gained from
the following:
Lek fa Luki ben gwenti, fos sabaten a b’e krin hen
kruyara, bika te a b’e go na doro, te neti hen krosi no
ben mu doti. Den yonkman ben sabi now bub-bun, san
ben de fu du nanga den mati, namku sens a grandinaribrad ben ori wan langa taki naga hen.
‘As was his custom, Lut: cleaned his canoe in the early
evening, because when he went out at night he did not
want his clothes to be soiled. The boys knew full well what
ailed their friend, especially since the elder of the church
had chatted with him for a long time.’
The origins of many of these words in English is clear. For
krin < clean
bika < because
doti < dirty
taki < talk
neti < night
krosi < clothes
langa < long
hen < him
stabilisation A process whereby a formerly diffuse language
variety that has been in a state of flux undergoes focusing
(see focused) and takes on a more fixed and stable form
that is shared by all its speakers. Pidginised jargons
become pidgins through the process of stabilisation. Dialect mixtures may become koinés as a result of stabilisation. Stabilisation is also a component of language
standard see divergent dialect community, standardisation
Standard English The dialect of English which is normally
used in writing, is spoken by educated native speakers,
and is taught to non-native speakers studying the language. There is no single accent associated with this
dialect, but the lexicon and grammar of the dialect have
been subject to codification in numerous dictionaries and
grammars of the English language. Standard English is a
polycentric standard variety, with English, Scottish,
American, Australian and other standard varieties differing somewhat from one another. All other dialects can be
referred to collectively as nonstandard English.
standardisation The process by which a particular variety of a
language is subject to language determination, codification and stabilisation. These processes, which lead to the
development of a standard language, may be the result of
deliberate language planning activities, as with the standardisation of Indonesian, or not, as with the standardisation of English.
standard languages see standardisation, koiné
standard variety A variety of language which has undergone
standardisation and which has acquired autonomy.
status planning In language planning, status planning refers to
decisions which have to be taken concerning the selection of
particular languages or varieties of language for particular
purposes inthe society or nation in question. Decisions about
which language or languages are to be the national or official
languages of particular nation-states are among the more
important of status planning issues. Status planning is often
contrasted with corpus planning or language development.
In the usage of most writers, status planning is not significantly different from language determination.
Steinsholt, Anders see real-time studies, language missionary
stereotype In secular linguistics, a marker, that is a linguistic
variable which shows both social stratification and style
stratification, which has attracted conscious attention and
become the topic of overt comment. In investigations of
the embedding problem associated with linguistic change,
stereotypes represent a relatively late stage in the devel-
opment of linguistic variables, having variants which have
undergone extreme stigmatisation, and, as a result, having
become involved in linguistic change from above.
stigmatisation Negative evaluation of linguistic forms. Work
carried out in secular linguistics has shown that a linguistic change occurring in one of the lower sociolects in a
speech community will often be negatively evaluated,
because of its lack of association with higher status groups
in the community, and the form resulting from the change
will therefore come to be regarded as ‘bad’ or ‘not
correct’. Stigmatisation may subsequently lead to change
from above, and the development of the form into a
marker and possibly, eventually, into a stereotype.
Strine A journalistic term for Australian English, supposedly
derived from the Australian way of pronouncing ‘Australian’.
style In sociolinguistics, a variety of a language which is
associated with social context and which differs from
other styles in terms of their formality. Styles can thus
be ranged on a continuum from very formal to highly
informal or colloquial. In English, stylistic differentiation
is most often signalled by lexical differences. Thus, in
British English, to slumber, to sleep and to kip all mean
the same thing, but are stylistically different. Styles are in
principle distinct from dialects and from registers: nonstandard dialect speakers can and do employ formal
styles, and standard speakers can and do use informal
styles. Highly informal vocabulary is often referred to as
slang. Changing from one style to another — or, better,
moving along the continuum of styles — as the formality of
a situation changes, or in order to change the formality of
a situation, is known as style shifting.
style shifting see style
style axiom An axiom adumbrated by Allan Bell in connection
with stylistic variation in language which claims that
variation on the style dimension within the speech of a
single speaker derives from and echoes the variation
which exists between speakers on the social dimension.
style stratification A term from secular linguistics which refers
to the correlation of linguistic variables with social context and formality. A variable which is subject to style
stratification in a speech community will show different
use of different variants in different social situations.
Thus, in many forms of British English, the [2] variant
of the variable (t) — the pronunciation of /t/ in words such
as bet and better as a glottal stop — occurs more frequently
in informal than in formal styles. Variables which are
subject to style stratification are known as markers.
stylistic variation see style
subjective reaction
tests Tests, including the use of the
matched guise technique and other techniques, in which
subjects are asked to evaluate speakers on the basis of
recordings of their speech.
submersion An educational practice in which individual children are placed in a school where the teachers and other
pupils do not speak their native language, often an im-
migrant language. Compare immersion programme.
substratum A substratum effect is one which results diachronically from the process of language shift in which a community, in abandoning its native language for another language
which has been imposed on it from above i.e. by another
more powerful community, carries over features from its
original language, through the process of admixture, into the
new language. Irish English, for example, is often said to
demonstrate substratum effects from Irish Gaelic. The sociolinguistic opposite of substratum is superstratum, where it is
a more powerful group that experiences language shift, as
when the Germanic-speaking Frankish overlords of northern France abandoned their Germanic speech, but not with-
out leaving behind many traces of this in modern French. The
term adstratum is generally used to refer to situations where
two groups of roughly equal status come into contact with
one another and exert mutual influence on one another’s
languages without language shift taking place. The result of
this process is known as a linguistic area.
superposed variety A variety which is ‘placed above’ a geo-
graphical dialect continuum in the sense that it has a social
function of some kind over a wider geographical area than
any of the continuum’s constituent dialects. Most often,
superposed varieties are standard varieties with the characteristic of autonomy. Roofless dialects are dialects
above which there has been raised no autonomous superposed variety.
superstratum see substratum
Surinam A nation state in northern South America, formerly
the Dutch colony Dutch Guiana, well-known in sociolinguistics as the home of the creole languages Ndjuka,
Saramakkan and Sranan.
synchronic see diachronic
T and V pronouns A distinction made by many languages of
the world between familiar forms of the second-person
pronouns (corresponding to English you) and polite or
formal forms. In sociolinguistics, these are known as T
and V pronouns respectively, after the first letter of the
familiar and polite forms in French, tu and vous. Most
often, T forms are used as address forms for close friends
and family members, while V forms are used to address
strangers and other less intimate acquaintances, but there
are also numerous
differences between languages and
dialects. In some languages, the V form was originally
a second-person plural form, as in French. In others, as in
the case of German Sie (as opposed to familiar du), it was
originally a third person plural form. Other examples
from European languages include:
esi esis
vi —
taboo Behaviour which is believed to be supernaturally forbidden and/or highly immoral and/or very improper, and
which is prohibited for irrational rather than rational
reasons. Originally from a word found in the Polynesian
languages with the form tapu or similar. Language taboo
has to do with words and expressions which are supposed
not to be used, and which are shocking, offensive, blasphemous or indecent when they are used. In anthropological linguistics, the study of linguistic taboo is of
interest for what it tells us about the moral, religious
and other values of a community. ‘Swear words’ are
common examples of words which are subject to linguistic
talk see ethnomethodology
target language The language which a non-native learner is
trying to learn. See also source language.
t,d-deletion A variable phenomenon in the phonology of
English whereby word-final /t/ and /d/ in words like west,
missed, hold, rolled are not pronounced, especially if the
next word begins with another consonant. Some dialects
delete more than others, and there is a tendency for /t/ and
/d/ to be dropped less where they are a marker of the past
tense, as in missed, than where they are not, as in mist. See
text linguistics see discourse analysis
t-glottaling A feature of many English accents in which intervocalic and word-final /t/, as in better, bet, are pro-
nounced as a glottal stop.
th-fronting A feature of some English accents, notably Cockney, in which the interdental fricative consonants /6/ and
/6/, both written th, have as a result of a sound-change
come to be pronounced as the corresponding labio-dental
fricatives /f/ and /v/, so that thin is pronounced the same as
fin, and loathes is pronounced the same as loaves. The
name comes from the fact that /f/ and /v/ are pronounced
further towards the front of the vocal tract than the two th
Tok Pisin Originally an English-lexifier pidgin language, now
a creole spoken by about 50,000 native speakers in Papua
New Guinea. The name of the language means, literally,
‘pidgin talk’. It is also very widely used in the country as a
second language lingua franca, and plays an important
role in the parliament and media. It is related to and rather
similar to Bislama and Pijin. The following is part of a
story in Tok Pisin taken from the Papua New Guinea
newspaper Wantok:
Long pasis bilong Kandrian long Wes Nu Briten i gat
tripela naispela ailan i sanap long wanpela lain tasol.
Tripela iwanmak na antap bilong wan wan i stret olsem
ples balus. I luk olsem bipo ol i wanpela tasol, na
wanpela samting i bin katim tripela hap. Na tru tumas,
ol lapun i stori olsem. Wanpela bikman bilong ples ol i
kolim Ais i sindaun stori long Wantok ripota i raun long
dispela hap. Na wanpela lapun meri tu i sindaun long
dua bilong haus bilong em long nambis na i stori tu.
By the shores of Kandrian in West New Britain, there are
three nice islands that stand in a row. The three islands
are the same size. Each is flat on top like an airfield.
Before, they did not look like this. There was just one
island and something divided it into three pieces. This is
the truth. The old people tell the story like this. A leader
from a place called Ais sat down and told the story to a
Wantok Newspaper reporter about this place. An old
woman sat at the door of her house by the beach and
told it too.
topic see domain
trade language A lingua franca which is used mainly for
informal commercial purposes.
traditional dialect An English term corresponding to Ger-
man Mundart and French patois which refers to dialects which have been relatively unaffected
koinéisation and/or by dialect contact with the standard
variety. In the English-speaking world, traditional dialects are found only in England, northern Ireland, the
Lowlands of Scotland, and Newfoundland. Some dialectologists would also include the American dialects of
the Ozarks and the Applachians under this heading.
They are linguistically conservative, compared to other
dialects, and diverge linguistically from one another
and the standard variety quite considerably. They are
also associated particularly but not exclusively with the
speech of NORMS.
In England, pronunciations of a
word such as bone as [bien], [ben] or [bwun] are typical
of traditional dialects. Pronunciations typical of nontraditional or modern dialects include [boun], [bo:n]
and [bzun].
traditional dialectology The study of traditional dialects using
the traditional methods of dialectology. The term can also
be applied to research into urban and other non-traditional dialects involving the use of only older-style, that is,
non-secular-linguistic, methodology. The concepts of iso-
gloss, focal area and transition zone are due to work in
traditional dialectology.
transfer see admixture
transition zone A concept from traditional dialectology and
more recent work in dialectometry, geolinguistics (1) and
spatial dialectology. Traditional dialectologists discovered early on in the history of the discipline that isoglosses
for individual words and pronunciations rarely coincided
with each other. One reaction to that finding was to
suggest that there was no such thing as a dialect totally
distinct from other dialects. This is, in most cases, strictlyspeaking correct (see dialect continuum), but it is not
simply the case that isoglosses are randomly distributed.
Dialect features show different types of geographical
patterning. Some geographical areas are crossed by no
or relatively few isoglosses. These are focal areas. Focal
areas are surrounded by transition zones which separate
them from other focal areas. Transition zones are crossed
by relatively large numbers of isoglosses, sometimes called
bundles of isoglosses, few of them taking exactly the same
course, but often running in roughly the same direction,
depending on how far and in what direction innovations
have spread outwards from the focal area. The transition
from one ‘dialect’ (or better, dialect area) to another thus
appears to be gradual rather than abrupt.
transparency see morphological transparency, semantic trans-
Tristan da Cunha An English-speaking South Atlantic British
dependent territory which consists of six small islands about
halfway between southern Africa and South America. The
only populated island, Tristan da Cunha, has a population
of about 290. It is said to be the most remote permanently
inhabited settlement in the world, the nearest habitation
being St Helena, which is about 1,200 miles away. A British
garrison was stationed on the hitherto uninhabited Tristan
da Cunha in 1816, asa result of fears that it might be used as
a base for an attempt to rescue Napoleon from St Helena.
When the garrison left in 1817, three soldiers asked to stay,
and during the 1800s they were joined by shipwrecked
sailors, a few European settlers, and six women from St
Helena. By 1886 the population was ninety-seven. In 1961a
volcanic eruption threatened the settlement, and the inha-
bitants were evacuated to England. Most of them returned
to Tristan in 1963. The English is remarkable. It is mainly of
English dialect origin but shows some signs of pidginisation,
though probably not enough to be considered a creoloid. It
has a number of grammatical features found nowhere else in
the anglophone world, such as double past tense marking,
as in we used to went.
turn-taking A term from conversation analysis used to describe the basic mechanism on which conversation is
In a conversation,
each speaker is entitled to
‘turns’, where a turn is his or her right and obligation
to speak. Conversation is organised in such a way that
only one speaker speaks at any one time, and changes of
speaker occur. If speaker change does not occur, what
results is a monologue, not a conversation. Turn-taking is
thus an essential component of conversation.
Uberdachung see roofless dialects
Ulster-Scots The dialects spoken in the far north and northeast of Ireland which are descended from dialects of Scots.
The standard language, sometimes called Ullans, which
corresponds to these dialects, and which does have a
history of use as a written language, is regarded by its
supporters as a language distinct from, though related to,
Lallans. Part of the gospel of St Matthew, in a modern
Ulster-Scots translation, is as follows:
Jesus wuz boarn in tha toon o Bethlehem in Judea, in
tha day of Kang Herod. It wuz nae time ava eftér this
afore a wheen spaemen fae tha Aist cum til Jerusalem an
begoud speirin, ‘Quhar wud tha bairn be at bees tae be
tha Kang o tha Jews? We hae saen his starn ris up in tha
Aist, an haes cum for tae warschip him’.
urban dialectology The study of dialects spoken in urban
areas. This is sometimes contrasted with traditional dialectology, but urban dialects can also of course be studied
using ‘traditional’ methods. Urban dialectology was also
used as a term in the 1960s to refer to what is now called
secular linguistics, but this usage is now inappropriate in
view of the use of secular linguistic methods to study
many other kinds of language variety than urban dialects.
underreporting A term used, in connection with self report
tests, to describe claims by respondents that they use
lower status or more nonstandard linguistic forms than
they actually do use, thus revealing favourable attitudes to
such forms. In tests involving English speakers, male
respondents have been statistically more likely to report
in this way than female respondents.
see Bislama
Varbrul A computer program developed by the Montreal-
based linguists Henrietta Cedergren and David Sankoff
for the analysis of large amounts of data on linguistic
variables obtained by secular linguistic research, and the
development from this data of variable rules. This pro-
gram greatly facilitates and speeds up the analysis of the
differential effects of particular constraints on the selection of particular variants of a variable.
variable see linguistic variable
variable rule A concept introduced by the American linguist
William Labov as a result of one of the major findings of
secular linguistic research, namely that much variation in
language is constrained by linguistic factors in a probabilistic kind of way which cannot adequately be represented as
resulting from optional rules, since the rules are not truly
‘optional’ at all. Thus, the t-glottaling rule /t/> [2|/V—,
which produces pronunciations such as better [be2a] and
bet [be?] in many forms of British English, is not obligatory
because pronunciations such as [beta] and [bet] also occur.
Neither, however, is it truly optional, since the frequency
with which the rule operates is influenced by a number of
constraints, such as whether the /t/ is or is not word-final,
and whether or not the /t/ is followed by a vowel, which
combine to influence the probability that the rule will apply.
variant see linguistic variable
variation theory see linguistic variation and change
variational linguistics see linguistic variation and change
variety A neutral term used to refer to any kind of language —
a dialect, accent, sociolect, style or register — that a linguist
happens to want to discuss as a separate entity for some
particular purpose. Such a variety can be very general,
such as ‘American English’, or very specific, such as ‘the
lower working-class dialect of the Lower East Side of New
York City’. See also lect.
verbal deprivation A now totally discredited notion developed
by certain American educational psychologists in the 1970s,
sometimes referred to as ‘language deficit’. They argued that
certain (mostly African American) lower-class speakers of
American English either (a) spoke dialects that were in
themselves inadequate for the expression of abstract concepts and logical relationships, and/or (b) had not acquired
enough of their native dialect to carry out such tasks, because
of insufficient verbal stimulation. American linguists, led by
William Labov, were able to show that the educational
psychologists were arguing from a position based on (a)
ignorance of the grammatical structure of English dialects
and (b) ignorance of secular linguistic methodology and of
problems of research in this area, notably that concerning the
observer’s paradox. Some writers mistakenly identified verbal deprivation with Bernstein’s restricted code.
verbal duelling A speech event found in many cultures in
which speakers, most often children and adolescents,
compete playfully with each other verbally in various
ways including, for example, through the exchange of
ritual insults i.e. insults which adhere to a set formula and
are not intended to be taken seriously.
verbal repertoire A term which refers to the totality of language varieties available to a speech community. Such
repertoires will include different styles, and may also
include different dialects in bidialectal or diglossic communities, and, in multilingual communities, different lan-
guages. Communities may reveal the range of their verbal
repertoires through code-switching.
vernacular variety The indigenous language variety of a particular speech community. The term is used particularly to
refer to dialects which are not national languages or stan-
dard varieties or lingua francas; to nonstandard dialects
which have not been influenced by standard varieties; and to
styles which are closely associated with informal contexts.
In the sociology of language, vernacular languages are a
focus of language planning debates about the extent to
which education should be carried on through the medium
of the mother tongue rather than the national language or
languages. In secular linguistics, vernacular varieties are
thought to be the most desirable object of study, being most
regular and systematic because they have been least influenced by other varieties and by notions of correctness.
vitality A term used in the sociology of language for establish-
ing a typology of language varieties. A language which has
a community of native speakers is said to have the
characteristic of vitality. Varieties which are undergoing
language shift or language death have less vitality than
other language varieties. Classical languages such as Latin
and Sanskrit, which no longer have native speakers, and
pidgin languages, which do not (yet) have native speakers,
do not have the characteristic of vitality.
Vlach Varieties of Eastern Romance spoken in the southern
Balkans are referred to by linguists as Arumanian. Speakers
of these varieties are known as Vlachs, and their language,
by non-linguists, as Vlach. From a sociolinguistic point of
view, there is the interesting Ausbau sociolinguistic pro-
blem of whether Vlach is a dialect of Rumanian or not.
This linguistic problem naturally has parallels with the
ethnic question of whether Vlachs are ‘really’ Romanians
or not. Mutual intelligibility between Vlach and Rumanian
is not always easy because of the rather large degree of
Abstand. The Greek practice of referring to Balkan Romance as it is spoken in Greece as Vlachika has the effect of
implying that the language is not Romanian, and that the
people are therefore not Romanian either.
Weinreich, Uriel see compound bilingualism, coordinate bilingualism, diasystem
West Germanic dialect continuum A dialect continuum com-
prising the dialects of Frisian, Dutch, Luxemburgish and
German. The area covers the whole of the Netherlands and
Luxemburg, northern and eastern Belgium, parts of north-
West Germanic dialect continuum
eastern and eastern France, central and eastern Switzerland, and almost all of Austria. It also extends into northern
Italy, southern Denmark and western Poland.
West Romance dialect continuum A dialect continuum comprising the dialects of French, Franco-Provencal, Occitan,
Catalan, Spanish, Galician, Portuguese, Italian, Ladin,
Friulian and Romansh. The area covers Portugal, all of
Spain except the Basque-speaking area, most of France,
southern Belgium, western and southern Switzerland, and
almost all of Italy. In the Iberian peninsula, the continuum
is most apparent in the north. Because of settlement
patterns involving north-to-south movement following
the reconquest of the southern part of the peninsula from
the Moors, the breaks between Portuguese and Spanish,
and Spanish and Catalan, are sharper in the south.
bao fog
La Luxembourg
West Romance dialect continuum
Wolfram, Walt see linguistic gratuity, principle of
Yiddish A language, sometimes known as Judaeo-German,
which is spoken by Jewish people in many parts of the
world. Most speakers today speak Eastern Yiddish, which
developed in eastern Europe and therefore contains many
words of Slavic (especially Polish, Russian and Ukrainian)
origin. Yiddish grew out of mediaeval German Rhineland
dialects and is essentially still a form of German, but it has
a number of archaisms and independent innovations. As
with Ladino, the Jewish cultural and religious vocabulary
is derived from Hebrew. Yiddish is normally written in the
Hebrew alphabet. Yiddish has been a frequent source of
words in English slang, such as British English nosh ‘food’
and American English shlep ‘drag’.
Zulu pidgin see Fanakalé
I owe the Angloromany text to Ian Hancock.
The Bislama text is taken from Gud nyus bilong Jisas Krais: the four
gospels in New Hebrides Bislama (1971).
The Nynorsk version of the Norwegian example in the Bokmal entry is
taken from J. T. Faarlund ‘Norma in nynorsk sedd i heve til austlandsmala’ in T. Kleiva, I. Donali, T. Nesset and H. @ygarden (eds)
i endring (Oslo: Det Norske
1999). The -
Bokmal ‘translation’ is my own.
The Franco-Provengal examples are based on A. Martinet La description
phonologique avec application au parler franco-provengal d’Hauteville (Savoie) (Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1956).
The Kriol text is taken from Brom top im album yu (New Paris, IN:
World Missionary Press).
The Occitan examples are taken from D. Ager Sociolinguistics and
contemporary French (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press,
The Russenorsk sentence is quoted from Ernst Hakon Jahr ‘On the
pidgin status of Russenorsk’ in E. H. Jahr and I. Broch (eds) Language
contact in the Arctic: northern pidgins and contact languages (Berlin:
Mouton de Gruyter, 1996).
The Sranan text is taken from the work of Trefossa, the pseudonym of
Henny de Ziel, published in J. Voorhoeve and U. M. Lichtfeld Creole
drum: an anthology of creole literature in Surinam (New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1975).
The Ulster-Scots example is taken from P. Robinson Ulster-Scots: a
grammar of the traditional written and spoken language (Belfast:
Ullans Press, 1997).
Chambers, J. K. (1995) Sociolinguistic theory, Oxford: Blackwell.
J. K. and Peter Trudgill (1998)
(2nd edn),
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Chambers, J. K., Peter Trudgill and Natalie Schilling-Estes (eds) (2002)
The handbook of language variation and change, Oxford: Blackwell.
Cheshire, Jenny and Peter Trudgill (eds) (1998) The sociolinguistics
reader, vol. 2: Gender and discourse, London: Arnold.
Coates, J. (ed.) (1998) Language and gender: a reader, Oxford: Blackwell.
Coulmas, Florian (ed.) (1997) The handbook of sociolinguistics, Oxford:
Coupland, Nikolas, and Adam Jaworski (eds) (1997) Sociolinguistics: a
reader, London: Macmillan.
Downes, William (1998) Language and society, Cambridge: Cambridge
University Press.
Fasold, Ralph (1984) The sociolinguistics of society, Oxford: Blackwell.
Fasold, Ralph (1990) The sociolinguistics of language, Oxford: Blackwell.
Foley, William (1997) Anthropological linguistics: an introduction,
Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Hoffman, Charlotte (1991) An introduction to bilingualism, London:
Holmes, Janet (1992) An introduction to sociolinguistics, London:
Hudson, Richard (1996) Sociolinguistics (2nd edn), Cambridge: Cam-
bridge University Press.
Jaworsky, Adam and Nikolas Coupland (eds) (1999) The discourse
reader, London: Routledge.
Johnstone, Barbara (2002) Discourse Analysis, Oxford: Blackwell.
Mesthrie, R., J. Swann, A. Deumert and W. L. Leap (2000) Introducing
sociolinguistics, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
in society: an
sociolinguistics, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Romaine, Suzanne (1999) Communicating gender, Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Schiffrin, D. (1994) Approaches to discourse, Oxford: Blackwell.
Spolsky, Bernard (1998) Sociolinguistics, Oxford: Oxford University
Talbot, Mary (1997) Language and gender: an introduction, Cambridge:
Polity Press.
Trudgill, P. (1994) Dialects, London: Routledge.
Trudgill, Peter (2000) Sociolinguistics: an introduction to language and
society (4th edn), Harmondsworth: Penguin.
Trudgill, Peter and Jenny Cheshire (eds) (1998) The sociolinguistics
reader, vol. 1: Multilingualism and variation, London: Arnold.
Wardaugh, Ronald (1998) An introduction to sociolinguistics (3rd edn),
Oxford: Basil Blackwell.
Wei, Li (ed.) (2000) The bilingualism reader, London: Routledge.
Wodak, Ruth (ed.) (1997) Gender and discourse, London: Sage.
Not Take From This Room
The publication of A Glossary of Sociolinguistics is a ijandmar
signifies the dramatic growth of sociolinguistics over the pas
decades and the level of interest it now attracts. Peter Trudgill
through it all - as a pioneer, a developer and an internationaily r
authority. No one is in a better position to write a glossary of
and no one can match Trudgill’s lucid, readable style.
Professor Walt Wolfram, North Carolina State
of language
This alphabetic guide introduces popular terms used in the study
stics deals
and society. A central topic within modern linguistics, sociolingui
with human communication and the use of language in its social context.
full ‘
Clearly written by a !eading authority in the field, this glossary provides
relatively new areas within sociolinguistics of sign language, gay language and —
cross-cultural communication.
Key features
(erm ne Lele( Neelareleceyamreiare|
Pay Native s¥-) Mevolanloy-al(olamcomerelUlei-romlamcve
FYavemelsiare (cig
* Contains illustrations,
* Provides linguistic examples of the terms defined
- Supplies numerous cross-references to related terms
Peter Trudgill, who learnt most of his linguistics at Edinburgh University, is
Professor of English Linguistics at the bilingual University of Fribourg in
Switzerland. His main research interests are in sociolinguistics and dialects of
English. A collection of his major works, Sociolinguistic Variation and Change,
has recently been published by Edinburgh University Press.